Project Overview

Royal Oak Is Raising $1 Million to Support Britain’s National Trust in Restoring the Grandeur and Elegance of the Bath Assembly Rooms

Bath is one of the UK’s most loved and visited cities. Turn any corner across this UNESCO city of historical importance and you are surrounded by sites of breathtaking beauty and historical significance, from the Royal Crescent to the Roman Baths.

During the Georgian era, the famous and prestigious Assembly Rooms in the city of Bath were at the heart of fashionable society. Designed by John Wood the Younger, when they were completed in 1771, they were described as “the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom.”

Bath Assembly Rooms were built for the delight of the polite society that developed during the 18th century, when the ceremonials of rank were broken down, the nobility mixed with the gentry and people passed their time together in agreeable conversation against a backdrop of strolling, dancing, playing cards and taking tea.

It was a place where marriages were made, fortunes won and lost, and society’s stories were shared and debated. Jane Austen, Dickens, Gainsborough, Haydn, Strauss, Sheridan, Linley, Herschel, Liszt, and Wilberforce are just a few of the notable individuals who frequented the Rooms.

The Grade I listed Assembly Rooms have been owned by the National Trust since 1931 and managed by the local authority since 1937. The council’s lease will end in 2023 creating the perfect moment for the National Trust to work with a range of partners to create a new future for this special place and restore the historical integrity of the Assembly Rooms.

The Assembly Rooms will allow contemporary visitors to immerse themselves in an evocation of a Georgian ball and explore histories of the time. The American Declaration of Independence, the First Fleet’s departure to Australia, and the French Revolution would all have been discussed and debated within the walls of the Assembly Rooms.


Funds from Royal Oak Will Be Used to Restore the Grand Ballroom and the Main Entrance

A new Georgian-inspired staircase

The Trust will replace the two modern staircases, which were installed in the 1960s. The architects for the project have sought out inspiration and precedents which will allow them to create a unique Georgian-inspired staircase for the Assembly Rooms.

Re-gilding of the mirrors

The mirrors would originally have been gold leaf, but this wasn’t feasible financially during the post war re-building so the mirrors were painted white to make them look like plaster. The re-gilding of these mirrors will restore the historic opulence to the room.

Marbling to the columns

There are 36 replica columns from the main entrance to the Great Octagon. Specialists will carry out the marbling effect much more convincingly than the current versions, restoring grandeur to the room.

New front doors

New doors will replace the current ones which are not in keeping with the original design. These doors will transform the look and feel of the front elevation, welcoming visitors and giving a hint of the splendor that awaits them inside.

New carpet

Expert curators from the Trust will be helping to source a beautiful carpet in keeping with the elegance of the space.

New light wells

The original entrance would have been through a narrow corridor with lightwells on either side, but much of this area was infilled after 1948. This infill will be removed, allowing natural light to flood in again, transforming the space for arriving visitors.

Re-candling and re-wiring of the five chandeliers

The chandeliers are rare survivors of the original design of the Assembly Rooms dating back to 1771, and considered by many to be the finest sets to have survived from the 18th century. Imagine! Jane Austen herself would have danced beneath their golden candlelight. The chandeliers have not been re-wired since the 1960s, and the Trust will replace the wiring and also the plastic fittings with new LED flickering candle lights which will be much more evocative of the Georgian time.

New floorboards

The current narrow strips are not in keeping with the original style of the room. National Trust specialist experts will conduct research into the flooring to ensure the correct specification of oak boards, transforming the look and feel of the room.

New ‘vapor’ fireplaces

There are three fireplaces in the ballroom that would have been used to give the early arrivals a burst of heat before a ball. Visitors will be transported back to the Georgian era after the installation of new LED fittings which give off a classic flame effect.

New double-glazed windows

To keep the rooms at a consistent temperature the Trust plans to replace the existing single glazed units with more slimline double-glazed fittings.


Bath Assembly Rooms

Royal Oak Is Raising $1 Million to Support Britain’s National Trust in Restoring the Grandeur and Elegance of the Bath Assembly Rooms

Support from Royal Oak Foundation will help the National Trust breathe new life into one of England’s most stunning gathering places. We hope we can count on your support.

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