Visit Frere Hall (Liaquat Hall) from Karachi

Location

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 Consulate General house, the Japanese Consulate and the Sind Club. Surrounded by the green Bah-e-Jinnah, Liaqat Hall, originally the freer hall was once the Town Hall where inc colonial days, concerts and social events were held regularly.

Designer, cost and opening

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.Built in the Venetian Gothic style with yellowish Karachi limestone and red and grey sandstones from Jungshahi.

History

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.

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.

 Gardens

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.It is a 127 year old Venetian Gothic style building in the Civil Lines area of Karachi. The building is named after Sir Henry Bartle Frere (1815-1884) who served as Commissioner of Sind from 1851-1859, and was responsible for promoting the economic development of nineteenth century Karachi.

Frere Hall was opened in 1865 and served as town hall during the years of the British Raj. It is rumored that the first attempt at codifying the rules of the sport of badminton took place here in 1877.

In the early 2000's the premises and the lawns surrounding it were closed off to the public after a suicide attack on the US Consulate, across the street from Frere Hall, killed 12 and injured another 51. The consulate has since moved location and Frere Hall is once again open for the people of Karachi to visit. However, when I visited last weekend, the actual Frere Hall building was locked up and closed off.

Renaissance of Islamic calligraphy

Sadequain was responsible for the renaissance of islamic caligraphy in Pakistan. He was one of the greatest calligraphers of our time and helped transform the art of calligraphy into serious expressionist paintings. He claimed that his transformation into a calligrapher was manifested by divine inspiration. He did not follow the tradition and created his own style of script. His alphabets exude motion, mood, and paint vivid pictures of the message of the word. Sadequain claimed that many of his paintings especially after the seventies had been based on calligraphic forms to portray images of cities, buildings, forests, men, and women.

In his lifetime two art galleries were established by the official authorities, one in Islamabad called Gallery Sadequain, which was located in Block F and the second one in the Frere Hall Karachi, also called Gallery Sadequain. After he died, the Islamabad gallery was disassembled and some two hundred paintings were unaccounted for and the Frere Hall gallery is closed for all practical purposes because of the security reasons.

Located at: Frere Hall (Liaquat Hall), Karachi, Pakistan
Frere Hall (Liaquat Hall)  Detail Picture 1
Frere Hall (Liaquat Hall)  Detail Picture 2
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Frere Hall (Liaquat Hall)  Detail Picture 4