Scottish dance teacher. He was the third generation dancing master in his family and was considered to be the leading Scottish dance teacher of his day. Born 1797, Brechin,Forfarshire.
His brothers Robert Lowe, James S. Lowe and John Lowe were also dancing masters and were co-authors, with Joseph, of Lowes’ Ball-Conductor and Assembly Guide, Edinburgh: Authors, (nd). This seems to have first appeared in about 1820 and ran through several editions.
In addition to teaching dance, Joseph Lowe was also a fiddler and was the author of 6 collections of reels and strathspeys. He probably taught in Edinburgh. Died before 1885. He taught Queen Victoria to dance at Balmoral and Windsor between 1852 and 1860.One or other of his children, Charlotte, Robert, John and Euphemia assisted him in the lessons, demonstrating the dances and partnering Victoria’s children. His young son George William is said to have played with the Prince of Wales during some visits. Queen Victoria paid for two Lowe brothers to attend the Bluecoat School in London. Joseph’s journal, detailing his teaching at Balmoral and Windsor is now held in the National Library of New Zealand. A transcription, with accompanying notes and background has been published – Thomas, A. (ed), A New Most Excellent Dancing Master, New York: Pendragon Press, (1992).
One of his daughters and his son Robert W. Lowe took Joseph’s classes at Balmoral in 1856 when he was unable to attend himself. Euphemia Hannah Lowe (b1834) and Charlotte Anne Lowe (b1833) continued teaching the Royal household until about 1873. His grandson George William Lowe (b. c 1852 d. 1909) taught in Edinburgh, Inverness, Forres, Elgin and Wick. Played violin.
His son Joseph Eager Lowe emigrated to New Zealand and on to Australia where he founded a dancing school in Melbourne. An article on the history of the family and its connections with New Zealand was published in 1992 (Thomas, A. “The Lowe Family”. Stout Centre Review, (1992), p.5-7)
Joseph Lowe is known to have taught the following dances:
Draw the Sword Scotland
Eight Hand Reel
Lady of the Lake
Lass of Gourie
Three Hand Reel
Information derived from an interview by T.M. Flett with Miss Eva Lowe, undated and Thomas, A. (ed), A New Most Excellent Dancing Master, New York: Pendragon Press, (1992), Thomas, A. “The Lowe Family”. Stout Centre Review, (1992), p.5-7, and relevant census returns.