Twice a year the very expensive Georgian crystal glass chandeliers at the Assembly Rooms are lowered towards the floor for cleaning and maintenance.
They are amongst the most important to have survived from the 18th century. The five in the ballroom and three in the Tea Room are by William Parker of Fleet Street.
It’s always been the same operation. Though we change light bulbs rather than candles.
Originally those little wax fed flames were capable of giving seven hours service for a ball – leaving four hours burning time for a concert.
Today’s illuminators last a little longer!
Jonathan Collett made an earlier set for the Ballroom but, one month after the opening in 1771, an arm collapsed – nearly hitting artist Thomas Gainsborough. They were dismantled and salvaged to form a single chandelier in the Octagon – to illuminate the card players!