This was the principal room for entertaining and would have been used for dancing and musical concerts. It was designed by James Paine for entertainments such as the regular assembly balls for the nobility and gentry during race week and at other times of the year.
Built in 1748, it has been known as the ballroom since 1826. Before that date it was known as the ‘grand room’ but Paine called it the ‘banqueting room’ when he published his Plans in 1751. It is a ‘double cube’ room, so called because it is approximately sixty feet long, thirty feet high and thirty feet wide. Paine intended it to have paintings on the ceilings; instead it has high quality plasterwork by Joseph Rose or Thomas Perritt. The wall panels were meant for plaster busts on brackets not for the portraits now found here.
The musician’s gallery above the main entrance allowed the sound of the small band to carry over the dancers beneath. It was later replaced by the dais for larger orchestras at the end of room.
There are 3 doors into the Ballroom main door in the middle and two secondary doors which were altered and widened from James Paine’s published plans.
The fireplaces are of geological limestone with bunches of grapes and decorative masks and were designed by Paine. The room is lit by three crystal chandeliers which the Corporation bought in 1750. As you look round the Ballroom take note of the elaborate plasterwork which has references to music, drinking and food.
Today the Ballroom is used for a variety of civic ceremonies, weddings and for tea dances.