The Victoria Assembly Rooms, Newport, 1868

The Illustrated London News, Feb. 1st 1868

THE town of Newport, in Monmouthshire, has lately obtained a great accommodation from the opening of the Victoria Hall and Assembly Rooms, built and fitted up, at a cost of £12,000, by Mr. Henry Pearce Bolt. We give an Illustration of this building, which measures externally 63 ft. by 144 ft., and is 67 ft. in height. It presents a very handsome side facade to Bridge- street; and fronts Station - street, with a noble portico carried up to the external height of the building, and supported on six Corinthian columns, with well-carved capitals, surmounted by a prominent and admirably-executed figure of her Majesty, with leonine supports. The whole is in freestone, the details and carving being very carefully and artistically worked - and this fact is especially noticeable, as a saving of several thousand pounds would have been effected had plaster mouldings been substituted for freestone. The front elevation has five and the side ten bays, containing circular-headed windows, enriched with architraves, imports, and carved keystones. The basement consists of massive arched brick cellars; and on the ground floor is a large room now used for the County Court and other purposes, a number of offices, well - arranged Turkish, Warm, and swimming baths, a gymnasium, and also a reading-room for the use of visitors to the baths. Above these is the Assembly Room, which is of noble proportions. Its length is 77 ft. and breadth 56 ft. A gallery, constructed to hold a very large number of persons, runs round three sides of the hall, having four rows of seats on each side and twelve at the semicircular end. The gallery front is of very elegant design; its ironwork, together with the columns supporting it, was cast at the Emlyn foundry, in a very satisfactory manner. The ceiling, which is 42 ft. from the floor, has been cored and enriched with cornices and trusses, and so designed as to render the acoustic properties perfect. The stage (43 ft. by 30 ft.) opens to the hall by a proscenium formed by an elliptical cornice and enriched frieze, supported on each side by handsome composite pilasters. At the other end of the hall is a commodious, lofty refreshment-room, and on one side are several small retiring-rooms. The architects are Messrs. Habershon and Pite, of London, represented by Mr. Fawckner; and the builder is the enterprising proprietor, Mr. Bolt, aided by local workmanship.