Lucknow Residency

(Detailed Write-up on Lucknow Residency including inside buildings of the complex)

 

Among the colonial monuments of Lucknow, the Residency deserves special mention as even in its ruins, it still reflects the ambience of the bygone era of both Nawabi and British periods. Situated on the south of the Gomti River on a high ground, the construction of the residency was started by Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula and completed by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan in AD 1800. Claude Marti also built a number of houses here and returned them to the Europeans. The history of the Residency can be traced backed to AD 1774 when Nawab Shuja-Ud-Daula agreed to have a British resident stationed in Awadh. Earlier a Residency was established at Faizabad that was the capital of Awadh. The Residency moved with the Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula when the capital of Awadh was shifted from Faizabad to Lucknow. General Claude Martin entered in the court of Awadh during the regime of Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula. Originally, the site of the Residency belonged to Shiekhzadas and Claude Martin purchased a considerable portion towards the northern slope for the constructing the main building for the British Resident and his staff. The building increased. They spread over 33 acres of land. The war of freedom from the Company in 1857 in Lucknow spread like a raging fire in many parts of the city including the Mariyaon cantonment, north of the Gomti. British houses were attacked and vandalized to such an extent that the British had to take refuge in the Residency for safety. With the defeat of the Company in the first battle of Chinhut, the entire Residency-complex faced shelling and counter shelling over a long siege of five months.

The advantageous position and ideal location of the Residency-Complex, on the high ground that was secured from every direction afforded safety to the Britishers during the siege of 1857 A.D. It was bounded on the north by the river Gomti, to the south and west the main city and was well defended by Baillie Guard Gate in the eastern directions. The southern extremity was guarded by Anderson’s post, while the southwest of the Baillie Guard was had Martin Gubbin’s house, facing the main city. Between Anderson’s post and Gubbin’s house lay the Kanpur battery, Duprat’s house, the Martiniere post, Brigade mess and Sikh square. On the western side or the city front, between Gubbin’s house (south-western extremity) and Inne’s house (westernmost point), the slaughterhouse, the sheep house, servants’ quarters, the Church, the Cemetery, and Evan’s battery were situated. The north-eastern extremity was watched over by the Hospital post and the treasury house. In between the Hospital post and the Anderson’s post (south-eastern point) existed Dr. Fayrer’s house, the post office and Germons post in the back line and the Baillie Guard, Saunder’s post, Sago’s post and financial post in the front line. The whole complex was further strengthened and well defended by the Kanpur Battery in the south and Redan Battery was in the southeast.

The evidence of the siege of 1857 can be seen on each and every building of the Residency which was exposed to heavy cannonades for five months. They suffered heavy damages; some were completely razed to the ground and are in ruins. Each ruin the complex has its own story to tell about the events of the 1857. The Residency-complex today consists of ruins of several buildings. During its historic siege in 1857, these buildings and every fortified post were named usually after the person who lived there. They were also named after the commanding officer of the post. We thus find names like Gubbin’s Garrison, Sago’s house, Dr. Fayerer’s house, Brigade mess, Kanpur Battery, Redan Battery, Sikh square, Anderson’s Post, etc. The brief description of each structure and excavated remains in given below:-

Main Residency Building: Originally it was a beautiful three-storeyed English-looking building that gave its name to the entire complex. Nawab Saadat Ali Khan (AD 1798-1814) is usually given the credit for constructing the main building in the Residency-complex, which was used by the Resident and the Chief Commissioner of Awadh till 1857. This building was erected on the highest spot in Lucknow, and it provided a very imposing view over the city towards the south and east and of the descending slope towards the Gomti on the north. The building, with its two upper storeys, Tehkhana (underground rooms) and garden had two splendid porticoes on its entrances towards east and south. The main entrance of the building is from the east side through a large double-columned portico. Along, the west front extended wide and lofty verandahs. Two spiral stair cases were also provided inside the two towers on the north and south sides for going upstairs. Both the stairs have completely collapsed leaving no traces of their existence. Its roof was protected by a massive Italian balustrade. There were a number of lofty windows and doors with Venetian blinds. The upper storey, which is no longer extant, consisted of a billiard room and library. The ground floor at the south side had a central hall, three side rooms and a small room at the entrance. It also had a subterranean room locally known as Tehkhana which was connected to the ground floor with a spiral stair case. The main Residency building was connected by a sloping subway banister which has now been restored.

During the historic siege, the main entrance was barricaded with boxes filled with earth, furniture and even books. In spite of this, it was not safe as its lofty windows and doors could not be barricaded. Its roof was only protected by open balustrade over a raised parapet wall all around. On the turret of the main building a semaphore was erected for telegraphic communication at first with Machchhi Bhawan and afterwards with the Commander-in Chief at Alambagh.

The ground floor was occupied by the soldiers of 32nd Regiment under the command of Captain Lowe. The remaining portion of ground floor was occupied by officers, ladies and children in the underground rooms. i.e., Tehkhana; women and children of 32nd Regiment were kept in the upper rooms just above the Tehkhana. Miss Palmer, daughter of Colonel Palmer, died here on 1st July, 1857 after she was hit by cannon shot. On the upper storey at the east angle of the building, Sir Henry Lawrence, Chief Commissioner of Awadh, received a mortal wound on 2nd July, and died on 4th July in Fayrer’s House. On 8th August, a 24-pound shot entered the central room of the Residency and damaged the ensign heavily.

Bailey Guard Gate: In the beginning of the nineteenth century, Nawab Saadat Ali Khan arranged for a special guard of honour for Caption John Bailey in the south-eastern part of the Residency. Thus, this portion came to be known as the Bailey Guard Gate. Supported by plain double columns, this building is almost square. It consists of one large rectangular hall and many small chambers. Among the Residency’s other gates, Watergate and Naubat Khana do not exist presently. Only Bailey Guard Gate still remains, but in a ruined state, this rectangular building consists of one huge arched gateway. There are two guardrooms, one on each side of the gate. Originally, a pair of huge wooden doors was fixed there. During the 1857 revolt, it suffered heavy damages by cannonade and on its wall could be seen the marks of cannon shots.

The Treasury House: The Treasury House was situated right across the main “Bailey Guard gateway”. It was a double-storied building decorated with Rajput and conventional Awadh arches. The construction of the building was furnished in about 1851. During the revolution of 1857, the central part of this building was converted into an ordinance factory for manufacturing Enfield cartridges.

Banquet Hall: Nawab Saadat Ali Khan built it for the British Resident and his special guests as Dawat Khana (Dining Place). It was the most imposing structure in the whole complex with its state apartments and spacious saloons, furnished with costly chandeliers, mirrors and silk diwans. The fine furniture in the hall was complemented by high quality of workmanship. In the building, a stucco fireplace at the first floor level still retains a marble like finish, and a broken fountain in the main entrance hall is a fine example of inlaid marble work in black and white. On the first floor, there were large verandahs supported by a line of round pillars on all four sides. This building was used by the Resident for entertaining important guests, specially the Nawabs. During the revolt of 1857, it was converted into a field hospital for treating the personnel wounded in the Residency. It suffered extensive damages during the siege. On 8th July, 1857, Mr. Polehampton was mortally wounded in one of the rooms by a rifle shot fired by an African eunuch.

Dr. Fayrer’s House: Dr. Fayrer, the doctor for the Residency, lived in this house. It is a very large building with flat roof and low ceilings. It has also a tehkhana, which gave shelter to the ladies. This place was held by a part of sepoy pensioners under the command of Captain Watson, Superintendent of the Military Police. Sir Henry Lawrence died here on 4the July. Sir James Outram, on his arrival here with Havelock and his forces, made his headquarter at this place after the first relief of the Residency.

Begum Kothi: It was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula and subsequently sold to Sacville Marcus Taylor, Assistant Resident, who again sold it to George Prendergast in 1802. Prendergast set up a European shop here, and later on sold the house and the business to John Culloden. Malika Mukhdarah Aliya or Vilayati Begum, the European wife of King Nasiruddin Haider, was the grand-daughter of Culloden. When Nasiruddin Haider died, Mukhdarah Aliya with her mother and her stepsister, Ashrafunnisa, came to live here. Mukhdarah Aliya and her mother died and were buried in the compound of the Begum Kothi. Ashrafunnisa built a mosque and an Immambara adjacent to the Begum Kothi. This is the only building built in traditional architectural style of Awadh unlike other buildings of the Residency-complex. The Imambara is roofless and is in a ruined condition but the mosque in high platform is in a good condition, though one of the domes was damaged during 1857. Both the buildings have retained some excellent specimens of stucco art work.

Church and Cemetery: This church, in Gothic style was built in 1810 with a number of pinnacles. It is situated on the north-west of the Residency; its remains are preserved up to a height of two to three feet, surrounded by a cemetery. During the early part of the siege, it was used as a storehouse. It was under the cover of this building that pits were dug, daily at night to receive the victims of the day’s firing, cholera or small pox. The church was used as a granary during the siege of the Residency. The area around the church was first used as a cemetery during the siege. Though considered unhealthy, the enormous number of casualties forced the besieged to bury the dead in the residential area. The graves include those of Sir Henry Lawrence, Major Banks, General Neil and others.

Saunder’s Post (Financial Post): This post was a large and extensive house of two storeys on a high ground. It was separated from Dr. Fayrer’s house by a lane. It was garrisoned by a part of the 32nd Regiment and uncovenanted civilians under command co Captain Saunders of 41st Native infantry. It was a very important post and was one of the major targets of the freedom fighters between 1st and 4th September 1857.

Sago’s House: This house was owned by Mrs. Sogo, a school teacher. It was a small house, separated by a wall from the financial post. This position was commanded by the two 18 pounders and a 9 pounder cannons at the Post Office, and held by a part of 32nd Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Clary of 32nd Regiment. This was the target of the main attack on 10th August.

Germons (Judicial) Post: This post was an extensive double-storeyed house, between Anderson’s post and the Post Office. It was garrisoned by uncovenanted civilians (whose families also found shelter here) and the Sikhs of the 13th Native Infantry under the command of Captain German of the same Regiment. This post was exposed and completely riddled by the incessant musketry fire by the freedom fighters that made frequent determined attacks, and was the scene of more hand to hand fights than any other post. This was also another important position and was barricaded on all sides with furniture, etc. It was much exposed to firing from the east and also from the turret on Johanney’s house on the west.

Post Office: It was an important post and the headquarters of the Engineers and the Artillery. It was defended by a party of 32nd Regiment under the command of Captain Mc Cabe of the same corps, who was killed here on 29th September. Major Anderson, the Chief Engineer, also died here due to dysentery on the 11th August, 1857. There was a workshop attached to it for manufacture of tools, fuses, and filling of shells during the first siege.

Andersons’s Post: This two-storeyed building on high around was defended by a group of the 32nd covenanted civilians, under the command of Captain Anderson of 25th Native infantry who was also the Assistant Commissioner. It was one of the most exposed places and was attacked throughout the day and night by the freedom fighters with heavy gunfire from 70 to 80 yards distance. On the 20th July, the freedom fighter advanced towards this post and attacked heavily. On 10th August the second major attack took place.

Kanpur Battery: This battery was installed in early June 1857 by Lieutenant J.C. Anderson. It derived its name from the Cawnpore Road which it faced. It consisted of three guns garrisoned by a group of the 32nd Regiment under the command of Captain Radcliffe of the 7th Light Cavalry. Those killed here included: Bryson of the Volunteer Cavalry was killed on the 9th July, Lieutenant Arthur of the 7th Light Cavalry on the 19th, Lieutenant Lewin of the Artillery on the 26th July. Captain Radcliffe, the commander also died from a severe wound on the 25th September at this post.

This battery was much exposed to the shellings of the freedom fighters and at the same time caused many casualties among them.

Jail: It was a well-ventilated lofty barrack with four equal-sized compartments and was used as a centre for convalescing patients. Earlier it was used for keeping the prisoners.

Sheep and Slaughter House: These were the outhouses, comprising cock room, stable, etc. of the Residency and were entered through a gate called the Ghurrie Darwaza. The slaughter house was used by the Commissariat for slaughtering animals for the use of the garrison. These houses were defended by uncovenanted civilians, under the command of Captain Boleam of 7th Light Cavalry.

Redan Battery: It was erected around 15th July, 1827, under the direction of Captain Fulton. This battery, as one of the best entrenchments, was garrisoned by a party of 32nd Regiment under the command of Lt. Sam Lawrence. Mr. Ommaney was killed here by a cannon ball which hit his head. On 20th July, this post was destroyed by the freedom fighter.

Inne’s Post: This building, with a sloping pucca roof, had a verandah in the east and in the north and consisted of four large and several small rooms. The central room had a staircase that led to the roof. It was defended by a party of 2nd of 13 N.I. under the command of Lt. Loughan and later on by Captain Graydon. It was attacked twice by the freedom fighters on 20th July and 10th August, 1857.

Native Hospital: It was bullock farm office and consisted of a square of low houses situated between the Martiniere post and the Brigade mess. It was used as a post office and convalescence centre.

Brigade Mess: A lofty double-storeyed solid masonry structure, it was garrisoned by officers under the command of Colonel Master of 17th light Cavalry. Lady Inglis and Couper occupied rooms here. Major Francis, 13th N.I. and Major Bruere of the same corps were killed here. The freedom fighters made a vigorous attack on this building on 20th July, 1857. On 10th August, 1857, another attack was made by the freedom fighters at this place.

Seikh Square or Sikh Square: This post consisted of two square enclosures and was known as the Sikh Square, being occupied by the Sikh cavalry during the siege under the command of Captain Harding. A mine was sprung here by the freedom fighters on 18th August, blowing down an outhouse at the south-west corner.

Grant’s Bastion: It was named after Lt. Grant of Bombay Army, one of the Dariabad refugees, who commanded it during the greater part of the siege and died here.

Gubbin’s Post: This post was strengthened and barricaded by Mr. Gubbins, the Financial Commissioner just before the siege began. Many lives were lost here in the defense of this post. Lt. Lester was killed here on 14th July, 1857. Capt. Forbes and Lt. Grant were wounded on 21st July, 1857. Major Banks received a bullet. Mrs. Dorin was killed here on 22nd July. Lt. Webb was killed on 26th July. Capt. Fulton also fell here. Lt. Berch was accidentally shot in the evening of 2nd September by one of the sentries who mistook him for an enemy. The freedom fighters made a number of determined attacks on this post.

Ommaney’s House: This edifice was an extensive double-storeyed building and was occupied by Mr. Ommaney, Judicial Commissioner, who was killed in the Redan Battery hit by a cannon ball on 5th July 1857. After his death, Brigadier General Inglis made it his headquarters. Later, Henry Havelock also made it his headquarters.

Henry Lawrence Memorial: Henry Lawrence was known as one of the most efficient and intelligent British administrators of Lucknow. After his demise on 4th July, 1857, a 51 feet high memorial was built in his memory. From its construction to the end of the historic siege of 1857, the Residency complex thus witnessed many vicissitudes, bloodshed, arson, assault and political upheavals.

Excavated Remains at Residency: Archaeological excavation has exposed a number of buried structural remains in the southern area comprising; Martiniere post, Duprat’s House and barracks. Besides, it has barracks. Besides, it has brought to light the water management and sewage system, drainage pattern and material culture of that period.

Martiniere’s Post: This building, which differs from European style of architecture, is said to have been owned by Shah Bihari Lal, a native Banker. During the siege, it was guarded by a party of 32nd Regiment, teachers and students of La Martiniere School under the command of their Principal Mr. Shilling. The building suffered heavy damage by a main sprung by the freedom fighters on August 10, 1857.

The excavation revealed complete plan of the building, its drainage system, water closet and also a Hammam which was equipped with elaborate water heating system. The Hammam measures 3.60×2.70m with an opening on the northern side for placing fire wood to heat the water as well as bathroom. There were small holes attached to terracotta pipes on the side walls. The Hammam is provided with double floor; the upper floor serves as the main floor that is supported by square pillars raised on the lower floor. The pillars are constructed in lakhauri (stucco) bricks and lime plastered. The intervening space between the four pillars is covered by inverted earthen basins that are further leveled by a layer of concrete. The top is covered with stone slabs. On the southern side stands the dressing room. The building is provided with a long courtyard at comparatively lower level surrounded with room on three sides and provision for water closet and a well on eastern side. In all, there were nine rooms of varying size two of them on the south having a verandah approached by a flight of steps. Towards north there stood a fountain.

Duprat’s House: Duprat’s House is located to the east of Martiniere’s post. It was a lower storied house with a verandah having a sloping roof protected by a well of mud pierced for musketry. It was also destroyed on August, 10, 1857 by extensive fire of the freedom fighters. Excavation has exposed the plan of the structure that was also provided with a well having lime plastered outer surface on southern side connected with the sewerage system.

Barrack: To the north of Duprat’s house and east of Brigade Mess was the barrack of British sepoys that was completely destroyed by freedom fighters having been in very close range of artillery fire. The excavation of this area has exposed the foundations of the complex, which measures 97x36m, and is oriented north-south laid in lime mortar. The structure was built of Lakhauri(stucco) bricks with 75-90 cm thick walls. The Barrack was entered through a three-arched entrance, which is provided with flight of steps from either side indicating its double-storeyed design. The floors of the barrack were built by ramming the brick bats mixed in lime mortar and lime plastered. The excavation has yielded Kanpur-made broken terracotta tiles, which were used a roofing material.

The complex is provided with bathrooms mostly adjacent to sewer-line with adequate drainage system.

Water Management and Sewerage System: The excavation in this part of the Residency complex has provided a very significant evidence of the water management and sewerage system introduced here during the 18th-19th century. The top courses of the wells were brick-lined. The diameter of these wells ranges from 50-95 cm. The upper surface was designed to serve as a platform with adequate provision for bathing and draining the water into bigger drain, which emptied itself into a sewer line. Besides the wells, the remains of plinths, which served as bathrooms have also been encountered. The complete sewer line measuring 97x36m running along the barracks and Duprat’s house has been exposed. The width of the covered sewer line built in lakhauri(stucco) bricks laid in lime mortar is approx. 95 cm while that of its inner drain is 38 cm only. The inner portion is lime plastered to make it impervious. The maximum depth recorded is 97 cm.

The sewer line is provided with manholes at regular intervals both circular and rectangular in size which were joined by the main drains from barrack and adjacent buildings from either side. The wells as mentioned above, as well as the bathing spaces are arranged along its periphery and connected to main drains which empty into the manholes of the sewer system. The sewer line is badly damaged on the eastern side. It appears that is was connected with the main sewer system of the city which might have finally joined the river Gomti through main nulhah.

Material Culture: The excavations have also provided a number of artifacts including cannon balls and bayonets reminding of one of the ferocious fighting which characterized the entire duration of siege. One could well understand the names of Golaganj, Barood Khana of the nearby mohallas that might have been the production centers of the ammunitions. A terracotta female figurine with European features and elaborate head-gear, imported porcelain pottery depicting beautiful floral designs and scenes of ship travel and other themes is illustrative of the European life style and environment. Some of them are also date to mid-nineteenth century and the shapes being mostly dishes and bowls of varying size and designs. Besides, fragments of imported wine, champagne bottles, silver-plated stick, etc. recovered from the Martiniere’s Post witness the luxurious life enjoyed by the British officers even during the period of siege.

1857 MEMORIAL MUSEUM

The ruins of the Residency, preserved in the same condition in which it came under central protection in the year 1920, remind us of the great uprising of 1857 in Lucknow. Here the history of the freedom struggle of 1857 is inscribed, as it were, on every brick of its structures. It conveys to us the feeling of patriotism and the sacrifices of hundred thousand of persons who participated in the freedom struggle of 1857 in the country and in Awadh in particular. It also echoes the heroic deeds and sufferings of many Britishers and natives who defended the Residency when it was besieged by the freedom fighters. It is, therefore, considered to be the most appropriate site for setting up an 1857 memorial museum. The surviving part of the Residency Building, earlier used as a room for displaying the model of the Residency complex, along with a portion of the annexes, is housing the 1857 Memorial Museum.

The Museum has been designed to present a visual account of the freedom struggle of 1857. This has been depicted through a model of the Residency, old photographs, lithographs, paintings, documents, period objects such as guns, swords, shields, muskets, cannons, rank badges, medals, diorama and other items. Paintings on canvas showing some of the battles at the Residency, and other models related to the theme are here for display.

The exhibits present the story of 1857 in a chronological order. Original photographs and lithographs of many sites, connected with the uprising, and paintings depicting significant events of the uprisings have been prepared and displayed along with portraits of local heroes. Notes have been added to the captions to assist proper appreciation of the exhibits. A number of maps showing strategic position in Lucknow, the centre of the uprising of 1857, map of the Residency, and a drawing of the layout of the gallery has also been displayed here.


Source: 1857 Residency (R.S.Fonia)