Larger versions of these images are located at the foot of the page.
Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||(Sir) Herbert Baker |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||9 June 1862 |
|Died: ||4 February 1946 |
|Bio Notes: ||Herbert Baker (later Sir Herbert) was born in Cobham in Kent on 9 June 1862, one of ten children of Thomas H Baker, JP. He was educated at Tonbridge School and articled to his uncle Arthur H Baker in September 1881 and remained for three years whilst attending classes at the Architectural Association. He remained with Baker after his apprenticeship as clerk of works at Llanberis Church, North Wales, a project which lasted a further year and a half. He then transferred to the office of Ernest George & Peto as improver and subsequently assistant and remained there until 1890 during which period he attended the Royal Academy Schools. While at their office he met Edwin Lutyens with whom he went sketching in the country. Baker won the Ashpitel Prize and passed the qualifying exam in 1889 and was elected ARIBA on 13 January of the following year, his proposers being his uncle, Harold Ainsworth Peto and Ernest George. He was elected Fellow ten years later on 18 January 1900, his proposers being on this occasion H S Greaves, Ernest George again and W Emerson. |
When in 1891 Baker's brother Lionel went out to South Africa to set up a fruit farm, Baker went out to advise on its situation. He soon met Cecil Rhodes who asked him to restore his home, Groote Schuur and to rebuild it again after a fire in 1893. In Baker Rhodes saw a man who could share his dreams of a great and permanent culture for South Africa. Baker was appointed Diocesan architect for Cape Town in 1893 and as such was responsible for a number of churches in the city. He formed a partnership with his former assistant Francis Edward Masey in 1899; together they designed a great variety of buildings - not only churches, but offices, banks and villas. They also supervised the construction of the Union Castle Line building and the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town on behalf of Dunn & Watson.
Rhodes died in 1902 and Lord Milner who had the task of rebuilding in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony after the Boer War engaged Baker & Masey on a number of projects including Government buildings, churches, houses and agricultural and mining settlements. In 1906 they took on a third partner, Franklin Kaye Kendall, who had joined the practice in 1899 as assistant.
Baker invited his friend Lutyens to visit South Africa and from this Lutyens secured the commissions for the War Memorial and Art Gallery in Johannesburg. In his turn Lutyens recommended Baker to share with him in designing the new government buildings in New Delhi. In 1909 Masey left to set up his own practice in Rhodesia and Baker formed a new partnership with Frank Leonard Hodgson Fleming who had been assisting since 1903, but this appears to have been dissolved by 1912 when he was associated with Lutyens for about a year on the project for New Delhi.
Baker returned to London in 1913, leaving his South African practice to Fleming, and embarked on the New Delhi project. However disagreement between Lutyens and Baker over the levelling of the King's Way leading to Lutyens's Viceregal Lodge made a rift between them which led to a long estrangement.
Baker devoted twelve years to the New Delhi project but then turned his attention to buildings in England (and one in Scotland) after the First World War. He was one of the principal architects of the War Graves Commission. In the mid-1920s he visited Kenya and Uganda and worked for the government in Kenya. In 1927 he was awarded the RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture.
At the age of sixty nine Baker formed a partnership with Alexander Thomson Scott in 1931. He died on 4 February 1946 at Owletts, Cobham, Kent. He was survived by his wife Florence, his sons and his daughter.
Publications: 'Plas maur' (1888), 'Cecil Rhodes, by his architect' (1934), 'Church House: its art and symbolism' (1940), 'Architecture and personalities' (1944).
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Owletts, Cobham, Kent, England||Private||1889||1946|| |
|Cape Town, South Africa||Business||1891||1902|| |
|Johannesburg, South Africa||Business||1902||1913|| |
|India||Business||1912 *|| || |
|14, Barton Street, London SW, England||Business||1929 *|| || |
|Romney House/18, Marsham Street, London SW, England||Business||1935 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
|This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Date started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|1921||Bank of England|| || ||London||England||Reconstruction and heightening|
|1928||India House||Aldwych|| ||London||England|| |
|1930||Glyn, Mills & Co Bank|| || ||London||England|| |
|1930||Martin's Bank|| || ||London||England|| |
|1930||South Africa House||Westminster|| ||London||England|| |
|1931||Monteviot House|| || ||Roxburghshire||Scotland||Alterations|
|1932||Boreham Manor||Chelmsford|| ||Essex||England||With George Lindsay Auldjo Jamieson as assistant|
|After 1932||Glenapp Church||Glenapp|| ||Ayrshire||Scotland||Inchcape Monument (on the grounds that Baker designed the Inchcape Memorial Church at Woldingham, Surrey)|
|1933||The Drove House||Thornham|| ||Norfolk||England|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Gray, A Stuart||1985||Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary|| || ||pp97-99|
|Greig, Doreen||1970||Herbert Baker in South Africa|| ||Purnell|| |
|Irving, Robert Grant||1981||Indian summer: Lutyens Baker and Imperial Delhi|| || || |
|Keath, Michael||1992||Herbert Baker: Architecture and Idealism 1892-1913|| ||Ashanti|| |
|Metcalf, Thomas||1989||An Imperial Vision|| ||University of California|| |
|Reilly, C H||1931||Representative British Architects of the Present Day|| ||London: Batsford Ltd||pp40-53|
|Simons, Phillida Brooke||1996||Groote Schuur|| ||Fernwood Press|| |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Architect and Building News||15 February 1946|| || ||p85|
|Builder||15 February 1946|| || ||pp158-9 Obituary|
|RIBA Journal||1946||v53||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||pp189-190|
|Scotsman||June 194602|| || ||Death notice, p8|
|The Times||6 February 1946|| || || |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Additional information courtesy of Michael Baker|
© All rights reserved. © Estate of Sir William Rothenstein / National Portrait Gallery, London