City Hall

Hamilton’s original Town Hall was located on the second floor of the Customs Warehouse at the corner of Front Street and Court Street. Built in 1794, shortly after the new town (named after Governor Henry Hamilton) was incorporated in 1792, the building was used for many years as a Fire Station. It still stands today as home to No. 3 Supreme Court on Front Street.

Hamilton’s first municipal elections were held at the original Town Hall in 1795 when Daniel Tucker was elected as the first Mayor, along with three Aldermen and five Common Councillors.

In 1933, some two and a half centuries later, Miss Catherine Tucker bequeathed a large sum to the Corporation of Hamilton for the building of a new City Hall in memory of her father, George Somers Tucker, former Speaker of the House of Assembly, who had served the City as an Alderman.

World War II intervened and construction did not begin until the late 1950s. Chief architect for City Hall was Wil Onions, an outstanding Bermudian architect trained at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who was inspired by a great appreciation of Bermuda’s centuries’ old indigenous architectural style. His design for City Hall was based on the traditional Bermuda cottage.
 

Built of Bermuda limestone block, City Hall is the last large building to make extensive use of native Bermuda cedar which was becoming rare, following a blight that devastated 97% of Bermuda’s cedar trees. Messrs Post Andrews Ltd made the handsome cedar doors and staircase balustrade in the foyer, together with the floor of the Mayor’s Parlour locally. A bronze replica of the Sea Venture, the ship captained by Sir George Somers and wrecked on Bermuda’s reefs in 1609, tops the weathervane on the City Hall tower.

Shortly before its completion, H.R.H. Prince Philip visited City Hall on the occasion of Bermuda’s 350th Anniversary celebrations. The new City Hall was officially opened on the 11th February 1960 by his Excellency the Governor Major General Sir Julian Gascoigne.

Foyer

Portraits of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, Mr. George Somers Tucker, and all former Mayors of Hamilton (except Daniel Tucker) hang in the foyer. Especially fine are the portraits by the French artist Antoine Verpilleux, who retired to Bermuda in the 1930s.

Local craftsman, Mr. George Trott made the antiqued Canadian pine chandeliers weighing half a ton and raised and lowered by means of a pulley system.

“Family Circle” purchased by the Corporation from Bermudian artist Mr. Bill Ming in 2004 sits at the foot of the staircase. Family Circle, a life-size wood sculpture, features seven figures and stands almost seven feet high. Mr. Ming, who lives and works in Newark, England, worked on the piece from 1997 to 2004. Family Circle is the second major Ming sculpture to be given a permanent public home – Figurehead, his memorial in St. David’s Great Head Park to those lost at sea, was dedicated by HRH Prince Andrew in 2006.

The foyer also provides access to the Corporation’s Administrative Offices, City Hall Theatre, The Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts Gallery.

Flanking the doors of the Bermuda National Gallery are portraits of the young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the only known copies of the famous Winterhalter oils which hang in Windsor Castle.

City Offices

The City of Hamilton administers one of the smallest but finest cities in the world from its offices in the East Wing of City Hall. Upon entering the offices you will see a very fine display of Royal Navy crests, together with crests from German, Dutch, Swedish, Canadian and American naval ships. The outstanding collection of Bermuda stamps was kindly donated to the City of Hamilton by Mr. Colin Benbow, who changes the display monthly. Visitors are welcome to view the collection from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.

The Mayor’s Waiting Room

Herein you will find a watercolour of Bermuda sloops circa 1760 by Captain Magnus Musson, former Master of the Queen of Bermuda, and a fine painting of Henry Hamilton donated to the City by Esso Bermuda Ltd.

The Mayor’s Parlour

This elegant room serves as the Mayor’s office, the City's meeting room, and a reception room for visiting dignitaries and guests. Among the elegant appointments are a 1598 Map of the Americas and a Staddler aquatint of the Town of Hamilton. There is a Verpilleux portrait of Captain Henry Hamilton, one time Governor of Bermuda after whom the Town of Hamilton was named. This was done from a photograph of a portrait at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University. The photograph of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was presented to the CIty by Her Majesty during her last visit to City Hall.

City Hall is proud to be wheel chair accessible.