City Hall and Arts Centre
Hamilton’s central landmark and public gathering spot, the City Hall and Arts Centre (Church St., tel. 441/292-1234, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., admission free) is the masterpiece of legendary Bermudian architect Wil Onions, who was renowned for adapting cottage aesthetics to almost every project he undertook. Completed in 1960, the building, whose design is basically an oversized cottage with a slate roof and tower, was inspired by Stockholm’s city hall.
Though Onions died before its completion, the whitewashed structure embodies his aim of simple lines and traditional features. Its 90-foot tower supports a distinctive weathervane sporting a bronze rendition of the shipwrecked Sea Venture. Bronze statues by Bermudian sculptor Desmond Fountain depict children playing in fountains set in a water-lily pond.
City Hall serves many functions. It is home to the offices of the Corporation of Hamilton on the ground floor, where portraits of mayors and Queen Elizabeth II hang on the stairwell. The main theater on the building’s west side hosts performing arts, including dance recitals, theatrical presentations, Christmas pantomimes.
Up the grand cedar stairs is the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts. Outside, public performances like choir recitals, Christmas marching band concerts, and occasional government press conferences are held on City Hall’s steps.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition