Belfast was originally not such an important city of Ireland as it is today. In fact, it was not even granted city status till 1888. It was only later on when it became an important site for ship building that Belfast gained the importance that it eventually came to have.
Today it is an important city and also a place that all visitors in Ireland flock to. Apart from ship building, Belfast was also known for its linen, rope making and engineering industries. In 1888, when the queen granted Belfast City status, it is said to have actually overtaken Dublin with regard to population.
Linen industries were also one of the many important trades of Belfast. This is important with regard to City Hall because of the Building in which the city hall is located. It used to be an important place for the Linen Industry. It was called white Linen Hall and was important for international Linen Exchange.
Behind the City Hall is an Area that is called Linen Quarter. Also, the name of the street that runs through Linen quarter from Belfast city hall is known as Linen Hall Street. All of these facts prove that Belfast city hall was once known as a centre of Linen trading.
It was only after Belfast was granted city status that they decided that the new found city would need a city hall. For this pupose they hired the architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas to design the building. Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas was a well known figure in the field of Architecture. He studied at the Westminster School of art and became an exponent of the Baroque Revival style of Architecture. He was eventually made a fellow at the Royal Institute of British Architects and was also knighted by King Edward the VIIth.
Belfast City Hall, which is faced with Portland stone, has a magnificent copper dome and lavish white marble interiors have been considered by many to be his best design to date. It is also considered to be one of the finest examples of Edwardian Baroque in the British Isles.
Construction of the Illustrious City Hall began in 1898 under the direction of the architect. It was finally completed in 1906. The cost of the whole project came up to a whopping 369 000 Euros but the end result was considered to be completely worth it. The Belfast Corporation used their profits from the Gas Industry to pay for the construction. It was mostly local firms that were involved in setting up this structure. Some of the firms involved were H & J Martin and W.H Stephens.
There is also a similar construction in Durban, South Africa. It is called the Durban City hall and it is almost an exact replica of the Belfast City Hall. It was built in 1910 and designed by Stanley G Hudson who was inspired by the Belfast design so much that he wanted to replicate it. There is also a third building called the Port of Liverpool Building. It was designed by Arnold Thornley and completed in 1913.
This building is a Grade two building and is one of Liverpools 3 graces. It used to be the Headquarters of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. It is also noted for the Edwardian Broque style and for its similarity to the Belfast City hall building. In 2006 the Belfast City hall completed a century o being in existence.
In order to commemorate that event, the people of Belfast decided to celebrate it. It was celebrated through an Exhibition inside the Hall. It took place on the 1st of August 2006. It was called Century of memories and along with the exhibition they also had a family picnic day.