Frere Hall Bagh-e-Jinnah Karachi
Frere Hall is one of the many remnant buildings of the British colonial era that still exist in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
. In the days of the British Rule, Frere hall served as a Town Hall and was the hub of Karachi’s socio cultural activities. Built in the Venetian Gothic style with yellowish Karachi limestone and red and grey sandstones from Jungshahi. Frere Hall, houses a library as well as a gallery full of paintings by Pakistan
’s iconic artist Sadequain (home to the famous Sadequain mural called "Arz-o-Samawat").
It was built in honour of Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, who was known for promoting economic development and making Sindhi language as the only official language under his office.
As of 2011, Frere hall is open to the public again. On Sundays there is a book bazaar in the courtyards where it is possible to purchase some old out of print books amongst others.
Fatima Jinnah Road, Karachi, Pakistan
(The Hall is located between Abdullah Haroon Road (formerly Victoria Road) and Fatima Jinnah Road (formerly Bonus Road) in the middle of two lawns which extended till the roads. It is located in Civil Lines locality of the town. In the vicinity are the Marriott Hotel, US Consul General's house, the Japanese Consulate and the Sind Club).
Inaugurated in 1865 as the main city hall of Karachi. Architect: Col. Clair Wilkins.
The ground floor houses a fine public library named Liaquat National Library (after Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, first Pakistan
i Prime Minister). It is one of the largest libraries of Karachi, contains over seventy thousand books, including rare and hand written manuscripts, newspapers, dictionaries, atlases and technical books.
The upper floor of Frere Hall serves as an art gallery containing masterpieces of Pakistan
’s famous calligrapher and painter Sadequain..
Out of twelve designs submitted, the one by Lt. Col St. Clair Wilson was chosen and construction started in 1863.It was opened by Samuel Mansfield, the Commissioner of Sind in 1865.
The total cost of this hall was about Rs. 180,000 out of which the Government contributed Rs. 10,000 while the rest was paid for by the municipality.
It was used as a Town Hall during the Raj. During the same period it housed a number of busts including King Edward VII's which was a gift from Seth Edulji Dinshaw. It also housed oil paintings of former Commissioners in Sind including Sir Charles Pritchard and Sir Evan James.
In 1877 at Karachi in (British) India, where the first attempt was made to form a set of rules of badminton.
After a terrorist attack attempt on the US Consulate, which faces Frere Hall, the park was declared off-limits to the general public for a few years until 2011. As of Spring 2011 the park was opened for the public again as the US consulate was relocated.
Around the Hall were two lawns originally known as 'Queen's Lawn' and 'King's Lawn.' These were renamed as Bagh-e-Jinnah (Jinnah Garden) after independence.
Bagh-e-Jinnah: Earlier known as Frere Hall Gardens, this 15.46 acre garden is located in one of the most prestigious parts of the city. In its vicinity are ABN AMRO Bank Country Office, Marriott Hotel, Sind Club and U.S. Consulate General. The main attraction of the garden is the remarkable Indo-Gothic Frere Hall constructed in 1865, which houses a library and an exhibition gallery, Galerie Sadequain. The garden is approachable from Abdullah Haroon Road (Victoria Road) as well as Fatima Jinnah Road (Bonus Road), two important roads of the city. Apart from the historic building, the garden houses Eduiji Dinshaw fountain, and an old cast iron birdbath, both historically valuable. Before Independence the statue of Queen Victoria and Edward VII stood in the Queen's Lawn facing Abdullah Haroon Road (Victoria Road) and King's Lawn facing Fatima Jinnah Road (Bonus Road) respectively. Unfortunately, an octagonal canopied bandstand, which stood in the northwest comer, close to Sind Club boundary, is no longer there, but was at one time a great attraction when the local garrison's Goan military musicians played marshal music there; it is hoped that the original bandstand will be located and re-erected in its original location. On its north eastern corner is located the tall Baluch Monument in pink Jodhpur stone. Karachi citizens find it delightful in the evenings when Frere Hall is illuminated, and they can enjoy the cool southwesterly sea breeze on its lawns.