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Tyne and Wear HER(6981): Newcastle, Fenkle Street, Assembly Rooms - Details

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The Old Assembly Rooms, Newcastle upon Tyne



Newcastle, Fenkle Street, Assembly Rooms




Public Buiilding

Assembly Rooms

Post Medieval


Extant Building

The original assembly rooms lay opposite the garden of St. Johns Vicarage (HER 6666). In 1736 the assembly rooms were demolished and moved to a new site in the Groat Market. In 1776 the assembly rooms were rebuilt opposite the original site in "the pleasantest part of the town inhabited by the clergy and gentry". The rooms were paid for by public subscription. Designed by William Newton. Consists of two suites of rooms, the great ballroom on the upper floor, approached from the ground floor vestibule by a fine staircase and surrounding by subsidiary rooms. LISTED GRADE 2*. Cost £6700. Fitted with 7 Rococo chandeliers made of 10,000 pieces of hand-cut crystals. Charles Dickens played here on 27 August 1852. Strauss gave a concert on 21 October 1838. Edward VII, George V and George VI have visited the assembly rooms. In 1967 the building fell into repair and was proposed for demolition in 1974. However it was bought by the Michaelides family and restored to its former glory. On 31 December 1777 a young woman threw herself off the musician's gallery to her death on the ballroom floor below. Her ghost is said to haunt the building, accompanied by the rustling noise of a taffeta ball dress and the scent of lavender {Kirkup 2009}.




Plan of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1945; A.D. Walton, 1993, Bygone Westgate Road; The Friends of the Old Assembly Rooms, 1968, The Old Assembly Rooms, Newcastle upon Tyne; Thomas Oliver, 1844, Historical and Descriptive Reference to the Public Buildings on the Plan of the Borough of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead; Rob Kirkup, 2009, Ghostly Tyne & Wear; Grace McCombie, 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead - Pevsner Architectural Guide, p. 14

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