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Building record MDR16534 - Derby Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby

Type and Period (13)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

In 1963, Derby's original Assembly Rooms [see SMR 32598], built between 1765 and 1774, was badly damaged by a fire, leaving only the façade standing on Market Place. With the city's public rooms subsequently limited to the Co-operative Central Hall, the King's Hall and the Guildhall, the latter hastily converted after the fire, the council decided to replace and amplify the old facilities of the Assembly Rooms and at the same time consider the renewal of the Market Place. In 1970, after consulting with the Royal Institute of British Architects, the council invited thirteen architectural practices to enter a single-stage limited competition. The competition assessors unanimously chose the scheme designed by Casson, Conder and Partners (London). Work began on site in January 1973 and was completed in October 1977, at a cost of £2,005,979. The new Assembly Rooms were formally opened by HM the Queen Mother on 9 November 1977. It comprised two multi-purpose halls - the larger Great Hall seating up to 1,800, and the smaller Darwin Hall seating up to 300 - three shops, bars, lounges, a coffee bar, a booking hall, a reception suite and a multi-storey car park. In the 1990s the former coffee shop was converted into a police station and a small office block was built beneath the Darwin Hall. By the early 21st century the three shops had been converted into a bar which was itself converted into a restaurant in 2012. In 2013 the Great Hall's original ceiling was removed and replaced in order to improve the venue's acoustics and lighting, while a hardwood sprung floor was inserted. In March of the following year a fire destroyed the plant room located on the car park roof, resulting in the venue losing its water supply, air conditioning and heating. It has subsequently closed, though the tourist information centre, box office and restaurant are still operational [2016]. The car park reopened in June following the completion of structural work. The building underwent a full assessment by Historic England in 2015-2016, following a request for a Certificate of Immunity from Listing. It was decided that whilst Derby Assembly Rooms is a distinctive example of modern design by a major post-war practice, it lacks the coherence and high quality design that is necessary for a building of this late date to merit listing. It was therefore agreed that a Certificate of immunity should be issued. See report for more details. (1)

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Historic England. 2016. Advice Report: Derby Assembly Rooms COI. Case Number 1427380.



Grid reference Centred SK 3531 3639 (107m by 104m) (2 map features)

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Record last edited

Sep 12 2023 10:07AM

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