Plaque to commemorate the Belfast Harp Festival held at the Assembly Rooms on 14 July 1792

On 14 July 1792, the famous Belfast Harp festival was held in the Assembly Rooms. Ten harpists, most of them blind, took part in this celebration of the fall of the Bastille prison in Paris that had taken place three years earlier.

The Exchange was built in 1769 as a single-storey, arcaded Market House funded by a donation of £4000 from the Earl of Donegall as a celebration of the birth of his son, George Augustus. 

In 1776, again at the request of the Earl, an upper storey which became known as the Assembly Rooms was added.

In 1845, the building was converted into a bank and the exterior was refaced in stucco to a design by Sir Charles Lanyon.

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