Off-limits no more. Visiting frere hall again is like meeting an old friend, igniting memories, sweet and painful. After decades of oppressive seclusion from public space, Frere hall has been handed back to public, the very public it was built for. The children have started playing cricket in its parking lot, couples have started sitting in its tree’s shades, the book lovers have started reading newspaper in its library, the art lovers have started visiting its gallery.
Frere hall has got its life back.
It was built in memory of Sir Bartle Frere (Commissioner of Sind 1851-1859). It was completed in 1865 at a cost of Rs.1,80,000. 10,000 of the cost was borne by the govt, while rest was arranged by the muncipality. The building was officially inaugurated by Commissioner Mansfield in 1865. The building was built in Venetian Gothic style and its design was finalized through a competition between architects.
The surrounding lawns were known as Queen’s lawn and King’s lawn but were renamed as Bagh-e-Junnah after independence. Since inception the building has remained hub of cultural activities. It served as a Town Hall and housed regular public meetings, concerts and theatrical performances. Later the ground floor was converted in a library and the firsts floor was turned into an art gallery, also with the distinction of having sadequain’s mural.