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This fine neo-classical style building was erected in 1831 as a Methodist Church and inaugurated on 16 December 1832. It was originally known as the "Wesley Chapel". The church had galleries along three sides and could seat about 800 people. The three bay facade was divided into two storeys with heavy pilasters, a cornice and small central pediment. The facade was further enlivened with an arched double door and small paned sash windows.
After the Commemoration Methodist Church was completed in 1850, the Wesley Chapel was repurposed as a meeting hall, named after Reverend William Shaw, the founder of the Methodist Church in South Africa.
In response to agitation from the Eastern Province, a session of the Colonial Parliament was held in Grahamstown in 1864 - the only occasion on which Parliament sat outside Cape Town. The session was opened in the Shaw Hall by the Governor, Sir Philip Wodehouse, and the deliberations took place in the old military hospital, now the Schönland Building at Rhodes University.
The Shaw Hall was declared a National Monument on 27 December 1985.
(William Martinson, September 2021)
It is now a Provincial Heritage Site.
These notes were last edited on 2021 09 21
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