Frere Hall Karachi, also known as Liaquat Hall, or Bagh-e-Jinnah (Jinnah Garden) or Sadequain Gallery is one of the finest architecture of the British Colonial Era. It was built in honour of second commissioner of Sindh, Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, who was known for promoting economic development in Karachi.
Frere Hall, one of the few well-preserved buildings from the days of the British Raj that still exists, is located in Karachi’s busy area of Civil Lines. Sindh Club, Japanese Consulate and the building of old US Consulate are also situated in this area.
The story of naming it Frere Hall
The reason behind naming this building (Frere Hall) after a British serving officer was his dedication towards the city of Sindh. During his tenure, he worked for the development of the metropolitan. It was Sir Frere who built the first railway line in 1852. He also laid the foundation of Karachi Municipality (now Karachi Metropolitan Corporation aka KMC). Furthermore, Frere also worked for promoting education in Karachi by building the first English Medium School and public library.
Bartle Frere retired from the post in 1859, but his services were always remembered by the people of Karachi. In remembrance for his services, they decided to build a beautiful building in the name of Bartle Frere. It was named Frere Hall.
Soon after the independence, the building was handed over to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and it was then named after First Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan. The building was named as Liaquat Hall in 1951. However, it seems that people of Karachi didn’t like the change and still called it Frere Hall.
The construction of the building started in 1863 after Engineer Colonel Clair Wilkins completed the model. The stone used in the construction was brought from Bholari Station, Thatta district of Sindh. The other shinning stones were brought from Jung Shahi village, 53 miles from Karachi city. The construction took two years to complete and the building was inaugurated on October 10, 1865 by the then Commissioner of Sindh Samuel Mansfield.
The total cost to complete the building estimates at 1 lac 80 thousand rupees. When completed, the building was used as Town Hall of Karachi.
Frere Hall Now
Famous painter Sadequain started painting the roof of the top floor with his beautiful art in 1986. After he completed his piece of art, the building attracted the people who came to see Sadequain’s work. Following the success, the administration decided to make a gallery that included famous paintings of Sadequain.
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