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© Mr Peter Tree

IoE Number: 466647
Photographer: Mr Peter Tree
Date Photographed: 07 October 2003
Date listed: 07 August 1952
Date of last amendment: 07 August 1952
Grade I

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BURY ST EDMUNDSTL8564SEANGEL HILL639-1/8/185(West side)

BURY ST EDMUNDS TL8564SE ANGEL HILL 639-1/8/185 (West side) 07/08/52 Athenaeum and attached railings GV I Assembly Rooms. C17 with later alterations and additions. Originally a large 3-storey house, converted into an Assembly House in 1714 by John Eastland, a dancing master. Remodelled in 1789, when it was reduced to 2 storeys. Major alterations in 1803-5 included the present north front, facing Angel Hill, and the ballroom, which rises the full height of the building, by Francis Sandys. The Athenaeum was established in the building in 1853. The front and the west side are rendered. EXTERIOR: on the north a wide mutule cornice and a parapet stepped up towards the centre in 2 stages, the lower with 3 panels and the upper with ATHENAEUM in raised letters. Behind the parapet is a copper-covered dome: this contains an observatory which is still fully fitted, including telescope though no longer in use. 7 window range arranged 3:1:3, all small-paned sashes in plain shallow reveals. The central window is 3-light with diminished side-lights and a segmental-arched head. A plain Roman Doric tetrastyle porch with iron railings above the cornice has 'SUBSCRIPTION ROOMS' in large gilded lettering across the fascia. Attached low wrought-iron railings mark the front boundary. Documentary evidence suggests that the east front was faced in white brick in 1821. It has a wood mutule eaves cornice with a low central pediment. 6 window range, very deep small-paned sashes in shallow segmental-headed recesses. On the ground storey a matching row of blank recesses. A stone band between the storeys. The west front has a plain eaves overhang. 3 window range: small-paned sashes in flush cased frames. The wide central Roman Doric doorway has engaged columns and a triangular pediment; door with 2 leaves, 6 sunk panels with heavy moulded surrounds. INTERIOR: cellar, below the western half of the front, is lined with coursed limestone blocks reminiscent of the cellar below No.11 Abbeygate Street (qv). The front range, now a vestibule, is in 5 bays, with boxed-in main beams, those for the 2 outer bays each supported by a distyle Ionic colonnade in antis. Panelled internal window shutters. Floor paved in a chequer pattern of black and white marble slabs. The ballroom is entered through double doors below a small semicircular balcony and double stair with stick balusters, reeded open strings and wreathed ramped handrails. The segmental tunnel-vaulted ceiling of the ballroom has delicate stucco decoration in Adam style, cornice with festoons, and stucco panels to the walls above panelled dadoes. Ornate stucco decoration to the architraves of the doors. In the middle of the west side of the room is a segmental recess with a tetrastyle colonnade, flanked by 2 wide fireplaces with marble surrounds and decorated cast-iron grates. (BOE: Pevsner N: Radcliffe E: Suffolk: London: 1974-: 148).

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