Located in the heart of Lucknow city and one of its famous attractions, The British Residency was once the headquarters for the British East India Company generals and the residence of the British Representative, who worked in the Nawab’s court. It is sometimes referred to as the Residency Complex.
The British Residency was constructed in the early 1800s. It earned fame as the site of the First War of Independence, which took place there in 1857. During this brutal period, the Residency was turned into a camp for British citizens in need of refuge.
The British Residency serves as a reminder of people’s bravery and sacrifices made during that historical period today. The Residency also has lovely lawns and gardens, which are close to the Gomti River.
Lucknow’s historical significance and architectural design make the British Residency a unique location.
The late 18th century began the rich and exciting history of The British Residency. The initial construction of this residential complex dates back to 1775, when Nawab Asaf-ud-daula of Awadh placed the foundation stone.
It was finished by 1800 and gradually transformed into an exclusive European colony under the reign of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. But as the British East India Company’s authority grew, The Residency complex became a central administrative centre and a hub of British Personnel.
However, this complex’s peaceful existence was disrupted by the unfair takeover of Awadh by the British, which angered the local population. The tension reached its breaking point on May 30, 1857, when Indian forces rebelled against British rule and started the fight for freedom.
The Residency played a crucial role in the Siege of Lucknow in 1857, as this attack went on for 87 days, and British officers and their families were locked up inside the walls of the Residency.
The complex saw both fighting and the destruction caused by an epidemic, with the disease taking more lives than warfare.
Even though General Campbell could end the freedom fighters after an extended battle, the damage to The Residency had already been done.
The once beautiful structures of the Residency are now marked with the marks of destruction, leaving the scars of the struggle obvious.
The architectural design of the British Residency in Lucknow is a fusion of Indo-Islamic and European elements. With its spacious rooms, beautiful arches, and carefully constructed balconies, the main structure has the appearance of a French chateau.
The place is peaceful and appealing because of its beautiful grounds, which include lush fields, vibrant flowers, and well-maintained walkways. Even though gunfire damaged it during a major war, the ruined building has been preserved and is today a well-liked tourist destination.
The British Residency is like a set of buildings within a large area. It includes places like an armoury, living quarters, stables, worship places, homes, and dispensaries.
At the entrance of the place, there’s a beautiful fountain that adds to the place’s beauty. This place is more than 33 acres in size and has a number of buildings, including the
- Baillie Guard Gate – The Baillie Guard Gate is the first thing you see when you enter. It was named after Col. John, the first British resident in the complex. In the olden days, the Nawab used to have a Guard of Honour ceremony here.
- Treasure House — You’ll find a treasure house on the right side of the complex. It was damaged during a battle in 1857 when it was used as a factory for weapons production.
- Dr. Fayer’s House — On the left side of the complex, you’ll find Dr. Fayrer’s House, who was the resident surgeon. This house has a basement that was used as a hiding place for women and children during the war, and it also served as a hospital.
- Banquet Hall — The Banquet Hall is a double-story building with a remarkable design that includes intricate carvings of high arches, huge ceilings, and spacious corridors.
- Begum Kothi — Begum Kothi belonged to a queen named Vilayati Mahal Makhdarah Aliya.
- Memorial Museum — The Memorial Museum of 1857 has a collection of historical items from the past.
- The “Residency” — The main structure was built too well, following the design of European villas with central halls, side rooms, large balconies, flat roofs, tall pillars, wooden beams, and exterior and interior marble decorations.
British Residency offers a unique glimpse into the rich history and architectural beauty of Lucknow’s past.
Things you can do in British Residency
The place is now a barren wasteland of ruins and destruction. Because of the careful preservation of the grounds next to the Residency and the restoration of the buildings, it is a year-round tourist destination for those interested in history.
Originally a part of the main Residency Building, the Model Room held a model of the Residency before the 1857 War. It has now been transformed into an official museum. You can find there,
- The original Residency model
- Antique images
- Historical records
And many more items from that era.
To help you understand the events of the 1857 freedom struggle, there is also an image that portrays the siege of the Residency. There’s also a gallery where artefacts discovered during excavations are on exhibit.
There is also a cemetery close to St. Mary’s church where more than 2,000 defenders were executed and buried.
Interesting Facts about British Residency
- The British Residency in Lucknow, a significant historical site spans 33 acres of land.
- It was constructed between 1780 and 1800 AD
- Between 1 July 1857 and 17 November 1857, the Residency was subjected to the Siege of Lucknow, which was part of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
- Near the Residency, there is St. Mary’s Church, and adjacent to it, there is a cemetery of Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence.
- The complex served as a refuge for British officials and their families during the siege of Lucknow for 87 days.
Entry fee and Timings of British Residency
The entry fee for visiting British Residency is –
- Rs 25 (For Indians)
- Rs 300 ( For Foreigners)
- Free entry for children below the age of 15
The British Residency is open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm every day.
How to reach British Residency
- By Airport: The distance between British Residency and Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport is 15.4 km and it takes almost 55 min to reach there.
- By Railway: The distance between British Residency and Lucknow Station is 3.5 km and it takes almost 25 min to reach there.
- By Bus: The distance between British Residency and Charbagh bus Station is 4.5 km and it takes almost 22 min to reach there.
Q1: What is the history of the British Residency?
Ans. During the 1857 rebellion, the British Residency at Lucknow, which had served as the East India Company generals’ headquarters, was converted into a camp for British refugees.
Q2: What is the meaning of British Residency?
Ans. In the princely states of India, the office of the Resident — appointees of the British government — was referred to as ” British Residency”.
Q3: When and who constructed the British Residency?
Ans. The British Residency was initially constructed by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula of Awadh in 1775.
Q4: What are the main attractions of the British Residency?
Ans. Some of the main attractions of the British Residency were, Ballie Guard Gate, Treasure House, Begum Kothi, Dr. Fayer’s House, and the memorial museum.