Biography Of Sir Herbert Baker

Biography of Sir Herbert Baker: Read more about this Englishman who left a rich heritage to South Africa by means of his beautifully designed buildings.

Sir Herbert Baker designed one of South Africa's most famous buildings, the Union Building, in 1910. He has left a rich heritage to South Africa by means of his beautifully designed buildings, which can be found in many towns and cities.

Herbert Baker was born on 9 June 1862 in Cobham, Kent in England and studied architecture in London. He arrived in South Africa in 1892, planning to visit his brother, Lionel who was busy buying a farm at the time. Herbert was captivated by the country and started to consider remaining in South Africa to start an architectural practice. He was taken with the style of the Cape Dutch homes in the Cape Province and the usage of sandstone in building homes.

He met Cecil John Rhodes who commissioned Herbert Baker to remodel his home, Groote Schuur. The result was magnificent and one of the best known buildings of South Africa. Today, Groote Schuur is home to the president of South Africa.



Many of the Cape Dutch homes were falling to disrepair and Herbert Baker was commissioned to restore them, which he did successfully.

He has designed buildings from towns such as the feather capital of the world, Oudtshoorn, to the mining town of Boksburg, to cities such as Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

He designed the Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town and the Pretoria Railway Station, but his best known design is that of the Union Buildings in 1910. It is a magnificent structure that South Africans feel proud of.

He sadly left South Africa in 1912 and moved to India where he worked on planning the designs of the new legislative buildings in New Delhi. During this time he worked with Sir Edwin Lutyens.

He returned to England after the completion of this work in India and was knighted. He died on 4 February 1946 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

© High Speed Ventures 2011