The Assembly Rooms
Tap image to see what the Assembly Rooms looked like in the 1990s, prior to restoration
The Assembly Rooms were built during the 18th century. The building that was demolished to make room for the Assembly Rooms was, The White Hart, a Coaching Inn from where we are told mail coaches started the practice of leaving Haverfordwest for London every morning (prior to this the system had been to use ‘Standing Post’ or Post Horses).
Little is known about the early life of the Assembly Rooms which is an irony because of all of the buildings in the town, this one was for many years, the centre of the upper strata social life of the county.
Every town of any size had their own Assembly Rooms, and every year the landed gentry moved, from their country estates to their Town Houses for the winter; and usually attended the succession of Balls held in the Assembly Rooms during ‘The Season’. (‘The Season’ lasted traditionally from just after Christmas until June.) One of the few early descriptions of arrivals at a Ball, portrays carriages waiting to offload their cargos, or else of ladies being conveyed there in sedan chairs.
During the Victorian and Edwardian period, the Assembly Rooms and ‘The Season’ were important calendar events for debutante Balls, giving young ladies the opportunity of ‘coming out’. A document dated 17 October 1863 states that ladies were to pay 3 shillings for tickets to the forthcoming Hunt Ball and men 6 shillings. At roughly this time female agricultural workers were receiving 4 pence per day (for a twelve hour day) and would have had to work for 12 days to have afforded a ticket (not that they would have been allowed to buy one, or had anything appropriate to wear) and men would have had to work for six days.
The building is now flats.
Next door is the...