Belfast City Hall is regarded as one of the finest buildings of it’s era in the United Kingdom. Plans 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. This site was also once the home of the White Linen Hall, an important international Linen Exchange. During this period Belfast briefly overtook Dublin as the most populous city on the island of Ireland. Construction began in 1898 under the supervision of architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas and was completed in 1906 at a cost of £369,000. The exterior is built from Portland stone in the Baroque Revival style and features towers at each corner and a lantern-crowned copper dome which stands at 173 ft. It covers an area of one and a half acres and has an enclosed courtyard. It resembles ‘The Old Bailey’ in London which was built at the same time and The City Hall in Durban, South Africa is almost an exact replica. It was built at the same time as when the Titanic was built and many of the excellent craftsmen worked on both projects.