Out working as a member of the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides this morning and a bit of a treat for the ten tourists l led into Bath’s Assembly Rooms.
They were in time to see the cut-glass-crystal London-made Georgian chandeliers – that hang in the ballroom – hovering almost at floor level.
They have been winched downwards to enable some early spring cleaning by the specialist firm that the National Trust brings in to clean and maintain these most precious objects. Some of the most important to have survived from the 18th century.
These are replacements – fashioned after part of one of the original set collapsed just one month after the rooms opening in 1771. The falling fragment nearly landed on Thomas Gainsborough’s head! He wrote to a friend the next morning with news of his lucky escape.
All the chandeliers were hidden in the stone mines surrounding Bath just before war broke out in 1939. Just as well, as the Assembly Rooms were gutted by fire in the 1942 Baedecker Raids.
The chandeliers were re-hung when the building was restored between 1956 and 1963.