The Hall was designed by Captain Francis Fowke and Colonel H.Y. Darracott Scott of the Royal Engineers and built by Lucas Brothers.The designers were heavily influenced by ancient amphitheatres, but had also been exposed to the ideas of Gottfried Semper while he was working at the South Kensington Museum. The recently-opened Cirque d'Hiver in Paris was seen in the contemporary press as the design to outdo. The Hall was scheduled to be completed by Christmas Day 1870 and the Queen visited a few days beforehand to inspect. She was reported as saying "It looks like the British Constitution".