Durban City Hall

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First Durban Town Hall

With the rapid expansion of Durban, in the late 1800s, there was obviously a need for a much larger Town Hall and so the first Town Hall was taken over to become the current Durban Post Office.

From second Durban Town Hall to Durban City Hall

Originally erected as the Durban Town Hall, later (when the town reached city status) renamed the Durban City Hall.

In 1903 the Town Council invited architects to submit designs for a new town hall. The winning design was submitted by Stanley G. Hudson who was inspired by the City Hall of Belfast, Northern Ireland and replicated it. On completion in 1910 it was considered a 'very bold and progressive design'.

Today, the very prominent building still compares favourably with its kind elsewhere in the world as a notable example of Edwardian neo-Baroque architecture. The building is richly embellished with groups of allegorical sculptures representing the Arts, Music, Literature, Commerce and Industry. Sculptures on the main pediment represent Britannia and Unity and Patriotism.

There are three blocks behind the facade designed for the municipal chambers, the art gallery and library and the auditorium;

Use for theatre

Used as a performance space over the years. Inter alia by Bertha Slosberg to present the Mthethwa Lucky Stars in March 1936. In August 1954 Dingane by H.I.E. Dhlomo was performed there by students of the University of Natal Medical School (Non-European section) and billed as a “milestone in the indigenous theatre of [the]century”.

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