Sir Herbert Baker: The Unification Of South Africa

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Sir Herbert Baker arrived in South Africa in 1892 and left for India in 1913. His career spanned twenty one years in South Africa, in which he designed buildings for the likes of Cecil John Rhodes, Lord Alfred Milner and Jan Christiaan Smuts. During his time in South Africa Sir Herbert Baker built a reputation for himself through his works for the people mentioned above and in turn became one of South Africa’s leading architects of the time, and one of the country’s greatest architects. While Baker is one of South Africa’s greatest architects, it is needed to remember that he only became the famous architect that he is because of the opportunities created for him by the events that occurred in South Africa between 1892 and 1913, such as the Second Anglo-Boer War and The Unification of South Africa in 1910. This is what will be discussed further; to what extent did the events that occurred in South Africa between 1892 and 1913 play an important role in Sir Herbert Baker becoming a leading architect.

Herbert Baker left England in 1892, to visit his brother who had just started a fruit farm in the Cape (B). It was then later that year where Baker had his “break”, where he met the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, Cecil John Rhodes, at a dinner at the home of the parliamentarian Louis Vintcent, who was also John X. Merriman’s brother-in-law. Baker sat opposite the Premier and sat “entranced”, saying little or nothing. Later Baker is said to have claimed to be have left

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