For many centuries, Belfast was a small settlement. Everything changed in 1613, when a Royal charter gave Belfast town status. It expanded rapidly, becoming an important port and manufacturing centre. By the end of the 19th century, Belfast had outgrown its status as a town and was a major industrial powerhouse, known for its shipbuilding, rope making, engineering, and tobacco and textile industries. In 1888, Queen Victoria gave Belfast the title of city and it was generally agreed that a new city hall was needed to reflect this change in status. Negotiations to acquire the one and a half acre White Linen Hall site, located in Donegall Square, began in 1896 and a price of £30,000 was agreed.
The new hall was built by local firm H+J Martin, following a design from Alfred Brumwell Thomas, who won a public competition with his classical Renaissance design. Funding for the new building was raised from the profits of Belfast Gasworks for which Belfast Corporation (now Belfast City Council) was responsible. The first stone was laid in 1898 and building work was completed eight years later. In total, Belfast City Hall cost less than £500,000 to build.
Belfast City Hall opened its doors on 1 August 1906 during a great time of prosperity for the city. Today, the magnificent building is a lasting memorial to Belfast’s success and a great source of civic pride.
In Early November 2007, Belfast City Hall was closed for 2 years to carry out major refurbishment, renovation included replacing all the heating within the building, the refurbishment and restoration of the City Hall involved both the external and internal elements of the building including the large external courtyard at the heart of the building.
The work undertaken within both Phases 1 and 2 totalled £10.5 million and included replacement of all major building services.
The Architect had a challenge while selecting the new heating for this project, as the radiators selected had to blend into the architectural design of the building and retain the old world charm at the same time, hence they turned to Versatile Heating, Cooling & Ventilation for professional advice on the best radiator solutions for this project.
Versatile recommended the following radiators due to the nature of the project and the required styles: