After the old city hall was destroyed in the great fire of 1842, it took almost 44 years to build a new one. The present building was designed by a group of seven architects, led by Martin Haller. Construction started in 1886 and the new city hall was inaugurated in 1897. Its cost was 11 million German gold marks. On October 26, 1897 at the official opening ceremony the First Mayor Dr. Johannes Versmann received the key of the city hall.During World War II, the City Hall was heavily damaged by the firestorm that swept the city as a result of massive bombing by the British Royal Air Force on July 23, 1943 — an attack codenamed Operation Gomorrah. On May 3, 1945 the German commander surrendered Hamburg to the British Army. Reconstruction of the City Hall was completed 12 years later, in 1957.
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