During the 18th century Swaffham was a popular meeting place for neighbouring gentry, especially as the town acquired a reputation for healthy living and longevity.
The Assembly Rooms were built between 1776 and 1778 with the south front added in 1817 by William Newham.
Many of the outstanding buildings around the market were built at this time
People would come for dancing and parties. Lord Admiral Nelson would go when he was home from sea and his wife Fanny often stayed in Swaffham
Throughout its history it has always been used as a place for people to meet. During the second world war it served as an American soldiers’ canteen
Later the boys from Hammond’s Grammar School had their lunch there
During the 1st World War soldiers were often billeted there
It is now used for conferences, exhibitions and other events including indoor markets.