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History of Belfast City Hall

How it all started

For many centuries, Belfast was a small settlement.

Everything changed in 1613, when a Royal charter gave Belfast town status. It expanded rapidly, becoming an important port and manufacturing centre.

By the end of the 19th century, Belfast had outgrown its status as a town and was a major industrial powerhouse, known for its shipbuilding, ropemaking, engineering, tobacco and textile industries.

In 1888, Queen Victoria gave Belfast the title of city and it was generally agreed that a new city hall was needed to reflect this change in status.

Building work

Negotiations to acquire the one and a half acre White Linen Hall site, located in Donegall Square, began in 1896 and a price of £30,000 was agreed.

The new hall was built by local firm H+J Martin, following a design from Alfred Brumwell Thomas, who won a public competition with his classical Renaissance design.

Funding for the new building was raised from the profits of Belfast Gasworks for which Belfast Corporation (now Belfast City Council) was responsible.

The first stone was laid in 1898 and building work was completed eight years later.

In total, Belfast City Hall cost less than £500,000 to build.

Opening celebrations

Belfast City Hall opened its doors on 1 August 1906 during a great time of prosperity for the city.

Today, the magnificent building is a lasting memorial to Belfast's success and a great source of civic pride.


Contact us
City Hall tours
028 9027 0456
City Hall
Donegall Square,
Belfast,
BT1 5GS