Herbert Baker - Encyclopedia


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"HERBERT BAKER (5862-), English architect, was born in 1862, and educated at Tonbridge school. He was articled to Arthur Baker, and later entered the office of Sir Ernest George, where he remained as assistant for some years. He studied at the R.A. schools, and in 1889 was awarded the Ashpital prize of the R.I.B.A. In 1892 he left England for South Africa, and there, with Cecil Rhodes as his friend and patron, began the work of reviving the old traditions of the architecture and craftsmanship of the colony. For Rhodes he built Groote Schuur, afterwards the permanent home of the prime ministers of South Africa, and also a house which the same patron built on Table Mountain for his friend Rudyard Kipling. Cecil Rhodes sent him on a tour of travel and study in Egypt and southern Europe, and, as a recognition of this generosity and the value of such an opportunity to a young architect, Baker founded the South African Scholarship at the British School in Rome. After the death of Rhodes he carried out the great Memorial on the slopes of Table Mountain, important features of which were the sculpture work of J. M. Swan, R.A. - the bronze lions and a head of Rhodes himself - and the mounted equestrian figure - " Physical Energy "- by G. F. Watts, R.A.

The end of the South African War saw Baker in full practice in the Transvaal and South Africa. In addition to the Government buildings at Pretoria - the administrative capital of South Africa - he carried out the cathedrals at Cape Town, Pretoria, and Salisbury, and many colleges and schools. Amongst the houses he built in South Africa are the Government House in Pretoria, and that for Sir Lionel Phillips, afterwards the governor-general's Johannesburg home. He also designed the buildings for the S. A. Institute of Medical Research at Johannesburg, and laid out many model mining villages on the Rand. His works in England include Sir Philip Sassoon's house at Lympne and the restoration of Chilham Castle, Kent. He was appointed one of the three principal architects for the war cemeteries in England and Flanders, and carried out many war memorials in England, amongst them those at Canterbury, Winchester and at Harrow school. Baker was appointed in 1913 joint architect for the new Imperial City of Delhi, in collaboration with Sir Edwin Lutyens. For this great scheme he designed the buildings for the secretariats, the Legislative Assembly, the Councils of State and of Princes, and the Viceroy's Dome for General Assembly.

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