A new Assembly Room and Hotel in the Mall (now the Clifton Club) was opened in 1811. This “spacious and elegant” building contained “a noble reception saloon and tea room, with convenient lobbies, a billiard room etc” and “every accommodation for both families and individuals, even to sets of apartments/drawing rooms, a coffee room, a shop for pastry and confectionery, with an adjoining room for soups, fruits and ices; hot, cold and vapour baths”. In all, the hotel had 70 bedrooms and 20 sitting rooms. (For the fascinating story of its architect see History – Clifton’s Famous and Infamous No. 1 on this website.) The man behind the development was John Lewis Auriol, a wealthy Huguenot, and it is his coat of arms that appears on the pediment.
The Assembly Rooms with its ballroom soon became the focal point for social life of Clifton society. Local artist Rolinda Sharples has captured for all time the atmosphere of a ball in the Rooms in about 1820.
From Clifton at Play
Self portrait of painter Rolinda Sharples with her mother