Assembly Rooms. Constructed in 1730-5, its design following the escription by Vitruvius of an Egyptian Hall as interpreted by Palladio. Lesser Assembly Room screen and decoration 1773; building refronted and portico added 1828: interior opened up in 1859. Major restoration and refurbishment 1990. Major repairs to ceiling in 2017.


Grid reference SE 6012 5204 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire
Civil Parish York, City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Assembly Rooms. 1730; Lesser Assembly Room screen and decoration 1773; building refronted and portico added 1828: interior opened up in 1859. Major restoration and refurbishment 1990. Assembly Rooms by Lord Burlington; portico by JB Pritchett; 1859 alterations by JB and W Atkinson. MATERIALS: front and portico of ashlar; left return of orange-buff brick in English garden-wall bond; clerestory of stuccoed timber. Slate roofs with brick stack, main roof hipped above prominent eaves cornice. PLAN: a basilica enclosed by suite of inter-connecting rooms. EXTERIOR: 1 storey and attic; 5-bay front. Centre bays fronted by pedimented tetrastyle Ionic portico. Flight of steps leads to central double doors each of 4 raised and fielded panels recessed in fasciated architrave with cornice hood on foliated volutes; wrought-iron lamp bracket above. Outer bays have 18-pane sash windows in similar architraves with cornices set in square-headed recesses between attached Ionic columns. Full-width entablature supports balustraded parapet on each side of pediment and breaks forward over portico. Attic has five 24-pane windows. INTERIOR: vestibule and anterooms: stone flagged floors. Main doorcase with enriched architrave and bayleaf garland frieze; curved subsidiary doorcases of painted stone with pulvinated friezes: all have moulded cornice overdoors. 3-panel double doors. Moulded skirtings and cornices. Anteroom to left has stone chimneypiece with eared surround and moulded cornice shelf on grooved brackets; C19 alcove cupboards with bordered glazing; plaster roundel over inner door. Anteroom to right has fireplace in eared and enriched architrave with pulvinated frieze and moulded cornice shelf. Circular Room: lined with wall paintings of 1951. Painted stone fireplace in eared and fasciated surround with pulvinated frieze and cornice shelf. Curved enriched doorcases. Domed ceiling lit by octagonal lantern. Assembly Room: peristyle of Corinthian columns supporting full entablature of garlanded bayleaf frieze and dentilled and modillioned cornice. Walls behind broken by alternately rectangular and semicircular niches over raised band. Clerestory of Composite pilasters with swagged capitals, enriched frieze and cornice. Venetian glass chandeliers. Lesser Assembly Room: two marble chimneypieces with eared fasciated surrounds, pulvinated friezes and cornice shelves. Venetian arch screen contains entrance to Cube Room with round-arched recess enriched with guilloche mouldings flanked by 2-leaved 3-panelled doors in enriched doorcases: plaster
ornament above of medallions and musical instruments entwined with ribbons. Original lunette window; coved ceiling of 1859 with central lantern encircled by flutes within rectangular frame with angle mouldings. Cube Room: painted stone fireplace with enriched eared surround and dentilled cornice shelf breaking forward over grooved scroll brackets. Coved ceiling with square lantern in border of rosettes. Recess: lunette window. Moulded cornice to ceiling lit by domed oculus in dentilled surround encircled by guilloche mouldings, and in surround of guilloche mouldings with angle rosettes. HISTORICAL NOTE: the Assembly Rooms are of seminal importance in the history of English architecture. They were designed by Lord Burlington in 1730. The foundation stone was laid on 1st March 1731 and the building was completed by August 1732. The building cost ยป5,000. (City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 100-2; Studies in Architectural History : Vol.1: Wittkower R: Burlington and his Work in York: York: 1954-: 47-66).
Listing NGR: SE6012452048

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

NMR Information:

(SE 60135204) Assembly Rooms (NAT)

5343 (west side)

SE 6052 SW 27/77 14.6.54 The Assembly Rooms


1730-5. Designed by Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington and
built under his close supervision. The design follows the
description by Vitruvius of an Egyptian Hall as interpreted by
Palladio. Facade refronted 1828 in Classical style by Pritchett &
Watson. Ashlar with a tetrastyle Ionic column portico with
pediment. Impressive interior to main hall with Corinthian
columns on all sides. A.M.

1 Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 1:2500 1962.
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest 14 City of York, June 1983

Architectural Survey
14-NOV-1995 - 14-NOV-1995

2017, Assembly Rooms BLDG REC (Unpublished document). SYO2068.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: 2017. Assembly Rooms BLDG REC.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Aug 19 2019 3:18PM


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