It has been at the heart of its town since the days of Lord Nelson and Jane Austen.

And now the Grade II-listed Swaffham Assembly Rooms has entered a new era following a £200,000 revamp.

South West Norfolk MP and former prime minister Liz Truss was at the reopening of the Market Place building, which has hosted markets, balls, weddings and countless other events since it was built in 1776.

Ms Truss said: "After all the hard work by our community, Breckland Council and Historic England, it's great to see the scaffolding down and this splendid listed building restored to its former glory.

"It’s such a well-loved space for the community to use and enjoy right in the heart of Swaffham.”

Dereham Times: Liz Truss MP talking to local residents.Liz Truss MP talking to local residents. (Image: Breckland Council)

Dereham Times: Swaffham Assembly Rooms - completed restorationSwaffham Assembly Rooms - completed restoration (Image: Breckland Council)

Swaffham's High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme paid for £82,000 of the cost, and the building's managers, the Iceni Partnership and Swaffham Town Council also contributed.

The project included repairs to the front façade, a paint job of the exterior, and the replacement of gutters in the historic Regency Room.

Dereham Times: Interior of newly restored Swaffham Assembly RoomsInterior of newly restored Swaffham Assembly Rooms (Image: Breckland Council)

The Regency Room's roof and windows also had to be repaired.

Dennis Tallon, chair of trustees at the venue, said the Assembly Rooms had played host to famous guests such as the famous Regency era model - and mistress to Lord Nelson - Lady Hamilton - and Egyptologist Howard Carter.

Mr Tallon said: "I was here on the memorable occasion when the town celebrated the late Queen’s 90th birthday.”

Jimmy Aitken, a project manager at Cliveden Conservation, which carried out the work, said: "Using traditional materials and methods, conservators repaired the damaged fabric of the exterior and interior of the building.

"The Assembly Rooms have now been restored to former, handsome glories; to stand proud once again at the heart of this market town."