Description of Historic Place
The Saint George’s Church and Church Hall are located in the North End of Halifax, NS. The Church is a national landmark and is commonly known as the ‘Round Church.’ Its round construction makes it unique within the province. The municipal heritage designation applies to the Church, Hall and the land.
Saint George’s Church is valued for its age and spiritual importance to the community. The construction of Saint George's Church was completed in 1812. It was built to accommodate a congregation that had outgrown its original church, the Little Dutch Church, which was formerly a Lutheran parish. The conversion from Lutheran to Anglican instantly made Saint George's Church the oldest Lutheran Church in Canada and the third oldest Anglican Church in Nova Scotia. The Church and Church Hall have been important to the spiritual fabric of society in Halifax in the building of religious communities.
The Church is also valued for its design, construction, and for its association with the British Royal Family. It is the only Church designed by a member of the Royal Family, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent. The design of Saint George's Church follows the circular pattern of architecture that the Duke of Kent favoured at the time. The plans of Saint George's Church are said to have been prepared by William Hughes, a master builder and shipwright at the Halifax dockyards. The design is believed to have been the responsibility of many people, including John Merrick, the principal architect of Province House in Halifax. The cornerstone was laid by Sir John Wentworth, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia on April 10, 1800. The original part of the Church was constructed between 1800 and 1812 and consisted of a simple two storey circular form with three domes. The weathervane was placed on top of the cupola in 1835 and is modelled after Halley's Comet which was viewed that year. The gallery was extended in 1841 to accommodate more people. The basic outline of the church has not changed since its construction, with the exception of repairs and maintenance on the structure, including repairs following the 1917 Halifax Explosion.
Architecturally, Saint George’s Church is valued for its unique Georgian style and design. The Church has been restored after a major fire in 1994 damaged the cupola, roof, and interior dome. The architectural character of this building is defined by its round shape with its staged roof structure, and by the round-ended chancel on the western side of the building. The wooden construction of the building is essential to its character. The round Palladian form of Saint George’s Church is pivotal to the meaning of this truly remarkable example of the Georgian style. There are grand entrance porticos, towers, and apsidal ends. The Church also features balustrades and a Palladian style window behind the altar. The storey articulation of the walls has low flat or segmental windows under tall round-headed windows. The Church Hall is also in the Georgian style, but of simple design. This simplicity further enhances the architectural importance of the Church.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File 2222 Brunswick Street, Saint George's Church, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The character-defining elements of Saint George's Church include:
- Georgian style with round Palladian shape;
- dominant central round two storey dome;
- staged roof structure;
- round-ended chancel with round headed windows;
- rectangular vestry, organ loft, and entrance to either side of the chancel;
- wooden construction and shingle siding;
- cupola roofed in copper;
- rounded headed windows;
- dentils along the eaves;
- arched openings at gallery level;
- sash windows of twelve-over-twelve.
The character-defining elements of the Church Hall include:
- simple Georgian form;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- single cross gable;
- timber frame;
- wood shingle cladding.