There's an interesting article in the Telegraph today about assembly rooms around the UK.
"Funded through subscription, these original arts venues were almost exclusively built in the elegant Regency style that was so in vogue at the time. Along with lavish interiors, they were specifically designed to appeal to the professional classes. The main draw tended to be the balls and dances, popular because professional middle classes rubbed shoulders with the local aristocracy and every girl could find her Mr Darcy.
Designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769, at a time when Bath and its spa were becoming fashionable among polite society, these magnificent Assembly Rooms were both a meeting place and a venue for public functions, and where Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra attended balls and country dances."