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Partly in imitation of the County Assembly Rooms of 1744 (RAZ 10.46.3, RAZ 11.70), city society began to raise funds to build their own assembly room in the lower city. The result was that an assembly hall and other chambers were added to the new Buttermarket (RAZ 10.22.8) which was under construction north of the Civic Church of St Peter-at-Arches. The Buttermarket had apparently already been completed, as a single storey structure, so the new Assembly Room was added on top and this two-phase, dual purpose, building was demolished in 1938. From the original layout of the buildings it should be possible to understand the way in which the elaborate social interactions in an Assembly Room were managed. Each different space will have been carefully fitted and decorated to indicate the relative social status of the occupants, and future work should aim at elucidating this elaborate pattern of social spaces. Although they arose from very similar social circumstances, any differences in function between the use of County Assembly Rooms compared with the City Assembly Rooms will be of great interest, as it is probably true to say that the distinction between the two social groups is not well understood.
The upper floor of the Buttermarket was used for meetings, a newspaper room and a library by the Mechanics Institute once they had been displaced from the Greyfriary building in 1858 (Hill 1974, 58, 276) (RAZ 11.55). By the late 19th century, however, philanthropy had become a more civic concern, and the upper floor of the Buttermarket building became the public library shortly after 1891 (Hill 1974, 227-8). As this was on the upper floor of a building demolished in 1938, there will be few archaeological remains. Even so the plan can be reconstructed from documents and should be compared with the much more elaborate building provided with a grant from the Carnegie foundation in 1910 (RAZ 11.72). The RAZ has the same boundaries as the Butter Market (10.22.8).
The RAZ is mapped following the boundaries depicted on the 1887 O.S. map editions and includes a 10m wide extension on each side to accommodate buried features not mapped.