A Victorian masterpiece & Big Ben’s little brother

This impressive piece of architecture is Derry’s Guildhall. It was built in 1887 using red sandstone and its eclectic style is described as ‘neo-Gothic with Tudor overtones’. It has the second largest clock face in the British Isles (next to Big Ben) and contains stunning examples of stained glass windows. Derry’s first 17th-century guildhall was located in the Diamond area inside the old city walls. The present guildhall was built just outside the walls on reclaimed land over the River Foyle. It was financed by The Honorable Irish Society at a cost of £19,000 and its original name was ‘Victoria Hall’ after the reigning monarch. The name ‘Victoria Hall’ was actually discovered on a foundation stone during the recent restoration. Other landmarks in the city named after Queen Victoria are Victoria Market, the Queen’s Quay and Queen’s Street. The Guildhall was badly damaged by fire in 1908 when only the clock tower survived and was bombed twice during The Troubles. In 2013 the Guildhall underwent a major renovation at a cost of £9.5m and now boasts a new multifaceted tourism experience for visitors to the city. It has also scooped up many prestigious awards in architectural and construction competitions.