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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 joined the Art Workers' Guild in 1914.

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:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 6Owletts, Cobham, Kent, EnglandPrivate18891946 
Item 2 of 6Cape Town, South AfricaBusiness18911902 
Item 3 of 6Johannesburg, South AfricaBusiness19021913 
Item 4 of 6IndiaBusiness1912 *  
Item 5 of 614, Barton Street, London SW, EnglandBusiness1929 *  
Item 6 of 6Romney House/18, Marsham Street, London SW, EnglandBusiness1935 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 9Arthur BakerSeptember 18811884Apprentice 
Item 2 of 9Arthur Baker18841886Clerk of Works 
Item 3 of 9Ernest George & Peto18861890ImproverLater assistant
Item 4 of 9Herbert Baker & Masey18991906Partner 
Item 5 of 9Herbert Baker, Masey & Kendall19061909Partner 
Item 6 of 9Herbert Baker & Kendall19091910Partner 
Item 7 of 9Herbert Baker, Kendall & Fleming1910c. 1912Partner 
Item 8 of 9Lutyens & Baker19121913Partner 
Item 9 of 9(Sir) Herbert Baker & A T Scott19311946Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 9Edwin Landseer Lutyens1887c. 1889ApprenticeLutyens worked under Baker, chief assistant to George & Peto
Item 2 of 9Francis Edward Masey18961899Assistant 
Item 3 of 9Franklin Kaye Kendall18991906Assistant 
Item 4 of 9Robert Hunter Cameronc. 1913c. 1913Assistantfor 4 months (in South Africa)
Item 5 of 9Alexander Thomson Scott19141922AssistantWith the exception of military service, from outbreak of war in 1914 to 1918
Item 6 of 9Alexander Thomson Scott19221929Chief Assistant 
Item 7 of 9Alexander Thomson Scott19291931Partner 
Item 8 of 9David Carr19301931Assistant 
Item 9 of 9George James Millerc. 1932c. 1934Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Thomas Henry Baker13 January 1890for Assocateship
Item 2 of 6(Sir) William Emerson18 January 1900for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6Ernest George13 January 1890for Assocateship
Item 4 of 6Ernest George18 January 1900for Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Harry Sidon (sometimes erroneously spelt Siddon) Greaves18 January 1900for Fellowship
Item 6 of 6Harold Ainsworth Peto13 January 1890for Assocateship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 7William Bryce Binnie (Major)30 November 1925for Fellowship
Item 2 of 7(Captain) Arthur James Scott Hutton22 July 1935for Fellowship
Item 3 of 7William Leck5 December 1904for Fellowship
Item 4 of 7Arthur James Marshall27 February 1911for Licentiateship
Item 5 of 7James MorrisLate 1910for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 7John Parker3 February 1902for Fellowship
Item 7 of 7Alexander Thomson Scott3 November 1930for Fellowship

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 startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 91921Bank of England  LondonEnglandReconstruction and heightening
Item 2 of 91928India HouseAldwych LondonEngland 
Item 3 of 91930Glyn, Mills & Co Bank  LondonEngland 
Item 4 of 91930Martin's Bank  LondonEngland 
Item 5 of 91930South Africa HouseWestminster LondonEngland 
Item 6 of 91931Monteviot House  RoxburghshireScotlandAlterations
Item 7 of 91932Boreham ManorChelmsford EssexEnglandWith George Lindsay Auldjo Jamieson as assistant
Item 8 of 9After 1932Glenapp ChurchGlenapp AyrshireScotlandInchcape Monument (on the grounds that Baker designed the Inchcape Memorial Church at Woldingham, Surrey)
Item 9 of 91933The Drove HouseThornham NorfolkEngland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 8Beauty's Awakening Beauty's Awakening: The Centenary Exhibition of the Art Workers' Guild Brighton Museum September -November 1984, Royal Pavilion Brighton 
Item 2 of 8Gray, A Stuart1985Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary  pp97-99
Item 3 of 8Greig, Doreen1970Herbert Baker in South Africa Purnell 
Item 4 of 8Irving, Robert Grant1981Indian summer: Lutyens Baker and Imperial Delhi   
Item 5 of 8Keath, Michael1992Herbert Baker: Architecture and Idealism 1892-1913 Ashanti 
Item 6 of 8Metcalf, Thomas1989An Imperial Vision University of California 
Item 7 of 8Reilly, C H1931Representative British Architects of the Present Day London: Batsford Ltdpp40-53
Item 8 of 8Simons, Phillida Brooke1996Groote Schuur Fernwood Press 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Architect and Building News15 February 1946  p85
Item 2 of 5Builder15 February 1946  pp158-9 Obituary
Item 3 of 5RIBA Journal1946v53London: Royal Institute of British Architectspp189-190
Item 4 of 5ScotsmanJune 194602  Death notice, p8
Item 5 of 5The Times6 February 1946   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor 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 

© All rights reserved. Estate of Sir William Rothenstein / National Portrait Gallery, London