shows the planned exterior of these buildings. The original design was for a
church with a hall beside it. The design is described in a booklet by Margaret
…a hall in the Gothic style with pinnacles and finials…
…a magnificent Gothic parish church with a spire on the northern side…
to stand next to the hall. The hall has aisle passages and narrow galleries
in recessed arcades each side, with a large gallery at the west end, and under
which were accommodated offices, cloakrooms etc. There were galleries also to
house an organ (on the north side) and choir opposite. The elliptical barrel
roof was apparently found to be excellent from the point of view of acoustics.
There was clearly an ecclesiastical feel to the design of this building, which
was in fact used for public worship pending the construction of the church.
When the hall was built it was by no means paid for, and as well as needing
to raise money for the intended church, the congregation had to find the cash
for the rebuilding of two other churches, buying a vicarage for one of them,
finding a home for a religious community, their school, and a training college!
In 1911 Johannesburg became the centre of a new diocese and St. Mary’s was
to become the cathedral. However, the rector, who was also the Archdeacon,
wanted the hall to be paid for before any further schemes were looked into. He
made the suggestion that Fellowes Prynne’s design for the church was not
acceptable, and that a simpler building be envisaged. The new cathedral, whose
eventual design does seem to reflect some of Fellowes Prynne’s ideas, was
dedicated in 1927. St. Mary’s Hall, however, became too expensive to run and,
regrettably, it was demolished in 1933.