Frere Hall is one of the finest architecture of the British Colonial Era which is one of the most significant tourist spots in Karachi. The hall was built in the honor of Sir Henry Bartle Frere who was acknowledged for his services in the promotion of the regional economic development and in making Sindhi as the one and only official language of the Sindh region. The hall served as the largest library in the region for quite a number of years which was later abandoned for some reasons. The hall however reopened for the public just recently in the year 2011.
The Frere Hall is centrally located in the urban area of the city between the Abdullah Haroon Road and the Fatima Jinnah Road right in the midst of 2 spectacular lawns which extends well till these roads. The location is in the Civil Lines which is just next to the popular Marriott Hotel of Karachi. The Sindh Club, Japanese consulate and the US consulate are just a stone’s throw away.
The enormous Frere hall was initiated in 1863 and the construction process was accomplished in just 2 years in 1865. It was initially used as a Town Hall during the British era. In the same British Colonial Era, the hall served as a house for displaying several busts which includes King Edward VII as well which was given as a gift from Seth Dinshaw. The Frere Hall has also staged several oil paintings on display of the former Commissioners in Sindh which includes the renowned personalities such as Sir Evan James and Sir Charles Pritchard.
It was in the Frere Hall in the year 1877 when the British rulers sat down to make an attempt for establishing the rules for the game of Badminton which was rising in popularity at that time.
Unfortunately, there was a terrorist attack just outside the US consulate which is next to Frere Hall, resulted in the closure of the place for general public until 2011 when it reopened in full bloom once again. The Hall reopened in the spring of 2011 as the US consulate by then was relocated in Karachi.
There were 12 architects who came up with the proposed design for the Frere Hall and the selected one came from Lt. Col Clair Wilson whose design standout among all. The hall was inaugurated in 1865 by Samuel Mansfield. Te total cost on the construction of the Frere Hall was 180,000 at that time. The government contributed with 10,000 towards the cost while the major contribution was made by the municipality.
Frere Hall is constructed in the Gothic Style (Venetian) using yellowish limestone with red and gray sandstones of Jungshai. In the exterior of the main Frere Hall are two scenic lawns which were originally named as Kin’s Lawn and the Queen’s Lawn.
There is a book fair organized on Sundays in its courtyards which have become the center of attention of many bookworms in Karachi and everybody else who visit the place from some other location.