Swaffham’s historic Assembly Rooms have been repaired and restored, thanks to support from the Swaffham High Street Heritage Action Zone, run in partnership by Historic England and Breckland Council.
The Grade II listed Assembly Rooms have been at the heart of Swaffham life since they were built in 1776. A Georgian gem, the building is an important local landmark and a vital part of community life, hosting events, a weekly market, weddings and functions.
A £200,000 repair and restoration project was carried out with funding from the High Street Heritage Action Zone (£82,000), The Iceni Partnership (a registered charity who manage Swaffham Community Centre and Swaffham Assembly Rooms) and Swaffham Town Council.
Managed by Cliveden Conservation and North & Hawkin, the project included repairs to the front façade of the building, repainting the exterior in a new breathable paint and replacing gutters to the historic Regency Room. Additional repair work was carried out to the Regency Room roof and the window surrounds.
This beautifully restored building will continue to be at the centre of community life for years to come. The completion of the Assembly Rooms restoration was celebrated in an event held on Friday 29 September, attended by Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk.
Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, said: “After all the hard work by our community, Breckland Council and Historic England, it’s great to see the scaffolding down and this splendid listed building restored to its former glory. It’s such a well-loved space for the community to use and enjoy right in the heart of Swaffham”.
Cllr Paul Claussen, Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth at Breckland Council, said: “The Swaffham Assembly Rooms restoration project, part of the Swaffham High Streets Heritage Action Zone project led by Breckland Council and Historic England, has helped preserve Swaffham’s heritage for generations to come. This project is a shining example of what we can achieve by working together with our key partners, who have a shared vision and commitment to Swaffham’s future.”
Tony Calladine, Historic England Regional Director for the East of England, said: “It’s wonderful to see Swaffham’s Assembly Rooms restored to its Georgian elegance and looking resplendent as one of the town’s major landmarks. This beautiful building has been the venue for some of the community’s most memorable occasions and will continue to be at the heart of local life for years to come.”
Dennis Tallon, Chair of Trustees, Swaffham Assembly Rooms, said: “The Assembly Rooms has a 250-year history which has created many memorable moments over the centuries: Lady Hamilton at the ball and maybe famed Egyptologist Howard Carter popped in! I was here on the memorable occasion when the town celebrated the late Queen’s 90th birthday. The rejuvenation work funded by Historic England, Breckland Council, Swaffham Town Council and the Iceni Partnership will help the people of Swaffham to create their own memories and make history for years to come.”
Jimmy Aitken, Project Manager – Architectural Projects, Cliveden Conservation said: “It was a pleasure for Cliveden Conservation to carry out conservation work on the prominent Swaffham Assembly Rooms. Using traditional materials and methods, conservators repaired the damaged fabric of the exterior and interior of the building. The Assembly Rooms have now been restored to former, handsome glories; to stand proud once again at the heart of this market town.”
Helen Carrier, Town Clerk, Swaffham Town Council, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work collaboratively with Iceni Partnership, Historic England, and Breckland Council to restore this elegant Georgian town landmark. Thanks must go to the Iceni Partnership team who have overseen the project and managed the collaboration so efficiently to restore the building to its original splendour.”