The Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, is a guildhall in which the elected members of Derry City and Strabane District Council meet. It is a Grade A listed building.[1]

The Guildhall
LocationGuildhall Square, Derry
Coordinates54°59′53″N 7°19′12″W / 54.998°N 7.320°W / 54.998; -7.320
ArchitectJohn Guy Ferguson
Architectural style(s)Beaux-Arts
Listed Building – Grade A
Designated25 May 1976
Reference no.HB 01/19/038
Guildhall, Derry is located in Derry
Guildhall, Derry
Shown in Derry

History edit

Pipe organ in the Main Hall
The Guildhall in August 2016

The current building was preceded by an earlier town hall called the Market House which was built in the 17th century and destroyed in the Siege of Derry in 1689.[2] The current building, which was designed by John Guy Ferguson and financed by The Honourable The Irish Society, was completed in 1890.[3] The design for the clock tower was modelled on the Elizabeth Tower in London.[4]

After a disastrous fire in 1908, in which only the tower and rear block survived,[5] and more funding from The Honourable The Irish Society, the Guildhall was rebuilt to the design of Mathew Alexander Robinson in 1912.[3] The current organ, which was designed by Sir Walter Parratt and has 3,132 pipes, was installed in 1914.[6]

During The Troubles, the Guildhall was the focus of multiple terror attacks. The building was badly damaged by two bombs in 1972, but was restored at a cost of £1.7 million and reopened in 1977.[2] On 23 September 1980 the Field Day Theatre Company presented its first production, the premiere of Brian Friel's Translations, in the Guildhall.[7]

The guildhall, which had been the meeting place of the county borough of Londonderry for much of the 20th century, continued to be the local seat of government after the formation of Londonderry City Council in 1972; the council was renamed Derry City Council in 1984.[8]

The square in front of the Guildhall regularly plays host to important events and was the site of U.S. President Bill Clinton's address when he visited the city in November 1995.[9]

The Guildhall was also home to the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday from 1998 to 2005.[3]

An extensive restoration programme, undertaken by H & J Martin (the contracting firm which built Belfast City Hall) to the designs of Consarc Architects, began in August 2010.[10][11] The project was completed in 2013 at a cost £8 million,[11] and won a Regional Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2014.[10]

Following further local government reorganisation, the building became the meeting place of the enlarged Derry and Strabane City Council in 2014; the council was renamed Derry City and Strabane District Council on 24 February 2016.[12]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Guildhall, Shipquay Place, Derry, County Londonderry (HB 01/19/038)". Department for Communities. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Guildhall History". Derry City Council. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "The Guildhall". Culture Northern Ireland. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  4. ^ Coyle, Cathal (2017). The Little Book of Irish Landmarks. The History Press. ISBN 978-1845882266.
  5. ^ "Guildhall restored to former glory". Belfast Telegraph. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Guildhall organ Bach with a fang for Hallowe'en!". Derry City and Strabane District Council. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  7. ^ Richards, Shaun (2006). The Cambridge companion to twentieth-century Irish drama. Cambridge University Press. p. 86. ISBN 9780511999567. OCLC 723455517.
  8. ^ "Stroke City to remain Londonderry". 25 January 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Speech by the President of USA to the People of Derry, 30 November 1995". CAIN. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  10. ^ a b "The Guildhall, Derry". Royal Institute of British Architects. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Guildhall Restoration". Derry City Council. Archived from the original on 8 April 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Change of Council Name (Derry and Strabane City Council) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016". Retrieved 16 October 2018.

External links edit