Georgian era (1714 to 1830) Bath gentry loved to be seen in social venues. In 1769, architect John Wood the younger designed just what they needed; the Bath Assembly Rooms. Located right in the early of the town, this set of elegant rooms included space for balls, concerts, gambling, and tea. Opened I. 1771, this hub for Bath's fashionable society included the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. The 100 foot ballroom could hold up to five hundred people and played host to at least two balls per week. Meanwhile, the Tea room could accommodate 250 folks. The Octagon was named for the shape of the room, with four fireplaces, and originally held an organ in the musicians gallery. Today, the building is owned by the National Trust and is available for private rentals.
The Assembly Rooms building as it looks today. It is located within the heart of Bath.
In its heyday, the massive ballroom was host to two major social events (balls and/or concerts per week.
There are five Whitefriars crystal chandeliers in the ballroom. Each is eight feet tall and held 40 candles.
Central lobby entrance into the Octagon Room.
The Octagon Room, today set up for a wedding, was once used for gambling by the gentry of Bath's society.
Since the Tea Room's capacity was only half that of the ballroom, there often was some pushing and shoving occurring during the initial phase of serving.
As an added bonus, in the basement of the Assembly Rooms is Bath's Fashion Museum. Created in 1963 when Doris Langley Moore donated her collection to the city, it was originally known as the Museum of Costume. The 100, 000 objects in this collection portrays the evolution of fashion from 1600 until the present day. Today, this is considered to be one of the world's top ten museums of fashion.
The earliest pieces in the collection are these gloves dated ca. 1600.
These dresses from ca. 1730, show the difference between what was called "open robes" and "closed robes".
It also included the evolution of men's clothes...
...and those of children.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.