History of the Assembly Rooms
The Alton Assembly Rooms were designed, constructed and finally completed in 1880 by Charles E Barry, and stand as one of the three buildings that form Crown Close. After an interesting early history, which included use as Red Cross Hospital they eventually passed into the ownership of the Town Council, being presented by the then owners, the Hall family as a generous gesture to celebrate the victories gained by the Allied Forces during the Great War.
HISTORY AT A GLANCE:
1880 Design/Construction: Charles E Barry (Westminster) - Architect
1880 Owner/Management: Alton Assembly Rooms & Town Hall Co Ltd
1900 - 1909 Alteration: converted for multi-purpose use (including films and skating) - Unknown Architect
1912 Owner/Management: Gerald Hall bought Co (in receivership)
1914 Alteration: converted to Red Cross Hospital - Unknown Architect
1919 Owner/Management: UDC (presented to the town by Gerald & Goodwyn Hall)
1919 Alteration: re-converted for entertainment use. Unknown - Architect
1963 Alteration: modernised & re-floored. Unknown - Architect
1997 Alteration: Sympathetic restoration and refurbishment of the main hall. Nick Carey-Thomas - Architect
The building is now Listed, as of as being of special architectural and historical importance, Grade II. All future improvements are only intended to further this beautiful building's character and ornate charm. Most recent works include:
2009 Refurbishemnt of Lower Room as a gallery / versatile space, incl new heating, lighting and blinds.
2010 New heating in Upper (Studio) Room
Removal of boarding on staircase and full restoration including replacement spindles.
Restoration of floor in Main Hall.
2011 New floor to Studio
Refurbishment of foyer, landing and stairwell, revealing yet more original architectural features.