The Info List - Belfast City Hall

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City Hall (Irish: Halla na Cathrach Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots: Bilfawst Citie Haw) is the civic building of Belfast City Council located in Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland. It faces North and effectively divides the commercial and business areas of the city centre.


1 History 2 Exterior 3 Illuminate project 4 Interior 5 Grounds 6 References 7 External links


The White Linen Hall, or the Linen Hall Library
Linen Hall Library
as it was in 1888. Now replaced by the City Hall.

The site now occupied by Belfast
City Hall was once the home of the White Linen Hall, an important international Linen Exchange. The street that runs from the back door of Belfast
City Hall through the middle of Linen Quarter is Linen Hall Street.[2] Plans for the City Hall began in 1888 when Belfast
was awarded city status by Queen Victoria. This was in recognition of Belfast's rapid expansion and thriving linen, rope-making, shipbuilding and engineering industries. During this period Belfast
briefly overtook Dublin
as the most populous city in Ireland.[3] Construction began in 1898 under the supervision of architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas
Alfred Brumwell Thomas
and was completed in 1906 at a cost of £369,000. Belfast
Corporation, now the council, its their profits from the gas industry to pay for the construction of the Belfast
City Hall. Local firms H&J Martin and WH Stephens were among the companies involved in the construction. James G. Gamble, architect, was the clerk of works. The city hall in Durban, South Africa is almost an exact replica of Belfast's City Hall.[4] It was built in 1910 and designed by Stanley G. Hudson, who was inspired by the Belfast
design. The Port of Liverpool Building, designed by Arnold Thornley and completed in 1913, is another very close relative.[5] On 1 August 2006 the City Hall celebrated its centenary with a "Century of Memories" exhibition and family picnic day.[6] On 3 December 2012, the City Council voted to limit the days that the Union Flag
Union Flag
flies from City Hall to no more than 18 designated days. Since 1906, the flag had been flown every day of the year. The move was backed by the Council's Irish nationalist Councillors and by its Alliance Party Councillors. It was opposed by the unionist Councillors, who had enjoyed a majority on the council until the Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
local elections of 2011. On the night of the vote, unionist and loyalist protesters tried to storm the City Hall. They held protests throughout Northern Ireland, some of which became violent.[7] Exterior[edit]

The grounds of City Hall are popular for relaxation during the summer. In the background are the dome at Victoria Square Shopping Centre
Victoria Square Shopping Centre
and the Belfast

The exterior is built mainly from Portland stone
Portland stone
and is in the Baroque Revival style. It covers an area of one and a half acres and has an enclosed courtyard. Featuring towers at each of the four corners, with a lantern-crowned 173 ft (53 m) copper dome in the centre, the City Hall dominates the city centre skyline. As with other Victorian buildings in the city centre, the City Hall's copper-coated domes are a distinctive green. The Titanic Memorial in Belfast
is located on the grounds of Belfast City Hall. The pediment sculpture is by F. W. Pomeroy, assisted by local carver J. Edgar Winter, and features on the reverse side of the current series of £10, £20, £50 and £100 sterling banknotes issued by the Northern Bank.[8] The design of the building is reminiscent of the Old Bailey
Old Bailey
in London.[citation needed] Illuminate project[edit] Floodlights have been added to City Hall to light up the building in a variety of colours and combinations. Using the same technology as the Empire State Building in New York, a white illumination will be applied to the building, after dusk, and it will also be 'colour-washed' on special dates.[9]

City Hall illuminated green for the annual St Patrick's Day celebrations

Occasion [10] Date Colour

Pride Saturday 6 July 2013 Rainbow

Orangefest Friday 12 July 2013 Orange and purple

Polish Independence Day Monday 11 November 2013 Red and white

Chinese New Year Friday 31 January 2014 Red and yellow

St Valentine's Day Friday 14 February 2014 Red

International Women's Day Saturday 8 March 2014 Purple

St Patrick's Day Monday 17 March 2014 Green

May Day Monday 5 May 2014 Red

Mark of respect to victims of attacks in Brussels Wednesday 23 March 2016 Black, yellow and red

Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Saturday 11 June 2016 Red, white and blue

Northern Ireland's opening match in UEFA Euro 2016 Sunday 12 June 2016 Green and white

Mark of respect to victims of the shootings in Orlando Monday 13 June 2016 (10pm to midnight) Tuesday 14 June 2016 (midnight to dawn)

Rainbow colours

Mark of respect to those who lost their lives in Istanbul Wednesday 29 June 2016 Red and white

Mark of respect to those who lost their lives in Iraq Friday 8 July 2016 Red, black and white

Orangefest Tuesday 12 July 2016 Orange and purple

Mark of respect to victims of attacks in Nice Friday 15 July 2016 Blue, white and red

Pride Saturday 6 August 2016 Rainbow colours

Interior[edit] The interior has a number of notable features including the Porte-Cochère and Grand Entrance, the Grand Staircase, the Reception Room and the Great Hall. The latter was destroyed during the Belfast blitz and was subsequently rebuilt. Carrara, Pavonazzo and Brescia
marbles are used extensively throughout the building as are stained glass windows featuring among others the Belfast
Coat of Arms, portraits of Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
and William III and shields of the Provinces of Ireland. Various memorials are located in the building, including ones to Frederick Robert Chichester, Earl of Belfast, Sir Crawford and Lady McCullagh and the 36th (Ulster) Division.

City Hall Dome 

First floor Rotunda 

Sculpture of the Earl of Belfast 

Central staircase 

Main entrance 


Garden of Remembrance and The Cenotaph in Belfast

The gardens surrounding the City Hall are a popular with office workers taking their lunch in the summer months, as well as tourists and teenagers gathering in their dozens to enjoy the green. Various statues stand in the grounds, including one of Queen Victoria by Sir Thomas Brock. There is also a granite column dedicated to the American Expeditionary Force, many of whom were based in Belfast
prior to D-Day. Brock also designed the marble figure of Thane, the Titanic Memorial, in memorial to the victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The ship was built in Harland and Wolff's shipyard located in the east of the city. The monument was originally located at the front gate of City Hall, at the junction of Donegall Square
Donegall Square
North and Donegall Place. There is a memorial to Sir Edward Harland, the former head of the Harland and Wolff
Harland and Wolff
shipyard and Mayor of Belfast
from 1885 to 1886. It too was sculpted by Thomas Brock.[11] The grounds also house Northern Ireland's main war memorial, the Garden of Remembrance and Cenotaph, at which wreaths are laid on Remembrance Day. James Magennis VC, the only Northern Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross during World War II, is also commemorated in the grounds. The Leading Seaman won the medal while serving in the Far East in 1945. A 6-foot-high (1.8 m) memorial to Magennis, made from Portland stone and bronze, stands in front of the City Hall. It was erected in 1999. On 3 January 2006 Belfast
City Councillors ratified a plan to erect a statue to the late Belfast
footballer George Best
George Best
in the grounds of the City Hall. Following approval from the Best family, the George Best Memorial Trust was created in December 2006. The trust's patron David Healy contributed £1,000 to the estimated total cost of £200,000.[12] In October 2007 a 60 m Ferris wheel
Ferris wheel
was constructed in the grounds, giving passengers panoramic views 200 ft (61 m) above the city. The wheel had 42 air-conditioned capsules, which could hold up to six adults and two children. The wheel finally closed at 6:00pm on 11 April 2010 and was removed during May 2010.[13] In 2008, the Imjin River Memorial was relocated here when the St Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena
closed. The memorial commemorates Irish[14] troops lost in the Battle of Chaegunghyon in January 1951 during the Korean War.[15]

Under construction

Belfast's - Titanic Memorial

Front of the building

Monument to Queen Victoria

Lord Dufferin monument

Statue of Edward James Harland, founder of Harland and Wolff

Memorial to James Magennis VC (2004)

View showing Belfast
City Hall with the Belfast
Wheel to the side, Late March 2010

Statue of James Horner Haslett, Mayor of Belfast

Statue of Sir Daniel Dixon, first Lord Mayor of Belfast
(1892–93, 1901-04 & 1905-07)

Statue of William James Pirrie, Lord Mayor of Belfast

Statue of Robert James McMordie, Lord Mayor of Belfast

At twilight


^ Brett, C.E.B. Buildings of Belfast
1700–1914. Page 67. Friar's Bush Press, Belfast, 1985. ^ The Linen Hall Library, one of Belfast's oldest cultural institutions, that occupies a site in Donegal Square North in front of today's City Hall, started life within the walls of the White Linen Hall. ^ The Victorian Web, National University of Singapore. Victorianweb.org (12 September 2006). ^ BBC Schools website. Bbc.co.uk. ^ Brett, C. E. B. Buildings of Belfast
1700–1914. Belfast: Friar's Bush Press, 1985; p. 65. ^ BBC news. BBC News (1 August 2006). ^ "Violence in Belfast
after council votes to change Union flag policy" BBC News 3 December 2012 Retrieved 5 December 2012 ^ "Northern Ireland". Ron Wise's Banknoteworld. Archived from the original on 8 October 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2008.  ^ Belfast
City Hall – Belfast
City Council. Belfastcity.gov.uk (1 August 1906). ^ "City Hall in lights - Belfast
City Council". www.belfastcity.gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-20.  ^ Belfast
City Council. Belfastcity.gov.uk. ^ BBC. BBC News (30 January 2007). ^ Belfast
City Council Archived 17 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Royal Ulster Rifles Korean Memorial". Retrieved 18 April 2014.  ^ "War Memorials Trust". Retrieved 18 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

City Hall Media related to Belfast
City Hall at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by none Home of the Parliament of Northern Ireland 1921 Succeeded by Assembly's College Building

Coordinates: 54°35′47″N 5°55′48″W / 54.596484°N 5.930053°W / 54.596484; -5.930053

v t e

City Council


Belfast Belfast
City Hall Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms
and Motto


Councillors Aldermen Lord Mayor Deputy Lord Mayor High Sheriff Lord Lieutenant

District Electoral Areas

Balmoral Black Mountain Botanic Castle Collin Court Lisnasharragh Oldpark Ormiston Titanic


Castle Belfast
Zoo St George's Market Ulster Hall Waterfront Hall

Parks and gardens

Botanic Gardens Cave Hill Country Park Musgrave Park Ormeau Park Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park Victoria Park


Balmoral Cemetery Belfast
City Cemetery Clifton Street Cemetery Roselawn Cemetery


2014 2011 2005 2001 1997 1993 1989 1985 1981 1977 1973

See also: Local government in Northern Ireland Category

v t e

Government buildings in Northern Ireland

Stormont Estate

Parliament Buildings ("Stormont")

Castle Buildings Dundonald House Maynard Sinclair Pavilion Stormont Castle Stormont House

Other Buildings

Clarence Court Great Northern Tower Hillsborough Castle Netherleigh House Rathgael House Royal Courts of Justice

Local Government

City Hall Newry Town Hall Guildhall, Derry

v t e

Irish parliament houses (1600s–present)


Chichester House
Chichester House
(1600s–early 1700s) Blue Coat School (early 1700s–1729) Parliament House (1729–1800)



Mansion House (1919), (1922) UCD (Earlsfort Terrace) (1919–1922) Royal College of Science (1921) Leinster House
Leinster House


City Hall (1921) Union Theological College
Union Theological College
(1921–1932) Stormont (1932–1972)