This site was once home to the White Linen Hall, an important international Linen Exchange. The plans for a new city hall were drawn up in 1888 when Belfast was granted city status in the same year by Queen Victoria. This was in recognition of Belfast’s rapid expansion and it’s thriving linen, rope-making, shipbuilding, and engineering industries. 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 a Baroque Revival style and features corner towers and a 173 ft lantern copper dome to crown the building. It covers an area of 1.5 acres and has an enclosed courtyard. It’s designed resembles ‘The Old Bailey’ in London and the City Hall in Durban 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. Belfast City Hall is now regarded as one of the finest buildings of its era built in the United Kingdom.