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The Ball Room

Assembly Rooms

The Assembly Rooms is one of Bath's finest Georgian buildings. It also houses the Fashion Museum and its internationally renowned collection of fashionable dress.

Entry to the Assembly Rooms is included in the Fashion Museum ticket. However, these Rooms are all available for hire, so please check in advance to see if they are open for viewing. For more information on room hire visit Bath's Historic Venues website.

The Assembly Rooms were opened in 1771. Known as the New or Upper Rooms, they were designed by John Wood the Younger. The rooms were purpose-built for an 18th century form of entertainment called an 'assembly'. A large number of guests met together to dance, drink tea, play cards and listen to music - or just walk about.

There are four rooms: the Ball Room, the Tea Room, the Octagon Room and a Card Room.

Ball Room

This is the largest 18th century room in Bath. Dancing was very popular and balls were held at least twice a week, attracting 800 to 1,200 guests at a time. The high ceiling provided good ventilation on crowded ball nights and windows set at a high level prevented outsiders from looking in.

Tea Room

This room was used for both refreshments and concerts in the 18th century, and was sometimes known as the Concert Room. During the evening entertainments there was an interval for tea, the cost being included in the price of a ball ticket. On Sundays there were public teas when admission cost sixpence per person.

Octagon and Card Room

The Ball Room and Tea Room are linked by the Octagon Room which was originally intended as a circulating space which could also be used for music and playing cards. On Sundays, when cards were not allowed, visitors could listen to the organ, which once stood in the musician's gallery. A new Card Room was added in 1777 but the architect is not known. Today this room is used as a café.

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