Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Missing Buildings

Site plan at the entrance

What remains today is but a fraction of the original 28 buildings and batteries – only six  are reasonably intact – Dr. Fayrer’s House, the Main Residency Building, the Banqueting Hall, The Treasury, Bailey Guard Gate and Begum Kothi.  A few, like Ommanney’s House, Martiniere Post and Anderson’s Post,Germon's Post, Sikh Square and Horses Square are a little more than a few crumbling walls and foundations. The rest have vanished. 
Map,  "Hilton's Guide to Lucknow and the Residency,"

Many of the brick markers, which would give a visitor some idea where a building should have stood, are gone and it takes much imagination to even begin to see where some structure might have stood. That smaller structures like Sago’s House, Post Office and the outlying Saunders Post are no longer visible is hardly surprising – the damage done to these buildings was extensive and it is likely the resulting rubble has either been taken over by nature or carted away for other uses.  In the case of Sago’s and Saunder’s Post, these buildings would have fallen outside the current boundaries of the Residency compound which is smaller than then it had been originally. I have described below some of the buildings which are not on the site plan at the entrance.
View from Bailey Guard Gate, towards the entrance

Mound and ditch, right side of Baily Guard Gate

A barricade was erected to defend a lane which separated Dr. Frayers House from the Financial Garrison also known as Saunders Post. The enclosure wall of the latter building subsequently formed the line of defence. This was a large, double storied building with two verandahs. Both of these were barricaded with furniture and boxes filled with earth. The position was reached by a slipping down a steep slope, and ducking all the way to avoid the musket fire of the enemy.  It was even worse trying to leave it:

“..the noise made by the falling bricks, displaced by the departing soldier as he nimbly scrambled up the ascent, terraced the attention of the insurgents, which brought on him a sharp fire.”1

Although both dangerous and uncomfortable, Saunders Post was of vital importance, as it held the lower ground towards the outer walls of the compound. As a result, it was of great interest to the insurgents and between the 1st and the 5th of September, they ran three mines against it, though none of the attempts proved successful. During the “grand attack” of the 5th, the enemy managed to get up to the barricade that ran along the front of the verandah but after being driven off by hand grenades, desisted from making another attempt – in deed, the sheer number of mines that were blown up in front of the position broke up the ground so much that the position became “impervious” to further such attacks. During the siege, the post was garrisoned by a party of the 32nd Regiment and men of the Uncovenanted Services under the command of Captain Saunders of the 41st N.I. 

Next in line to  Saunder's Post, stood Sago’s House. Before the siege, it had been the property of Mrs. Sago, a school mistress. The building was a small single storied affair difficult to defend due to its low lying position and so exposed to shelling that by the 14th of August it was completely in ruins.  Only the house was defended, the compound and enclosing walls had been abandoned due to lack of manpower to defend the position in its entirety. A party of the 32nd Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Clery were garrisoned here.

Situated above both Sagos and Germons Post, was the Post Office. During the siege, it was the headquarters of the Engineers and Artillery and provided defence for the two lower lying buildings. Three guns were placed here – 2 18 pounders and a 9 pounder – and three mortars which covered the Cawnpore Road. The southerly wall communicated by breaches with the Native Hospital, Martiniere Post, Cawnpore Battery as well as the Judicial and Anderson Posts. A workshop was also established here, for the manufacture of tools, and for the preparation of fuses and shells in the initial stages of the siege.  A party of the 32nd commanded by Captain McCabe were garrisoned here and provided for the subsequent defence of the position. Captain McCabe was killed on the 1st of October while Mrs. Kavanagh had the calf of her leg shot away at this post, but she was to survive the siege. The garrison’s chief engineer, Major Anderson directed all engineering operations from this position – he did not survive the siege, and died of dysentery at the Post Office on the 11th of August. 

Next to Anderson’s Post was the Cawnpore Battery. Three guns - an 18 pounder and two 9 pounders consisted of the entire defence, while the battery itself was constructed of earth and palisades. The guns themselves were placed on a platform, which was protected by a stockade and trench. The trench led past Andersons Post. In spite of its firepower, the battery was deemed by many to be of little use, as the men were unable to stand at the guns due to the heavy musketry fire levelled against them from the tower of Johannes House, almost directly opposite. A flanking fire was kept up by the Martiniere Post and the rifles of the Brigade Mess. Although this allowed the battery to be held, it was not without heavy losses of life.

The Thuggee Jail and the Native Hospital, located  behind Deprats House and the Martiniere Post respectively, have both vanished - a marker and few indentations in the ground show the remains of the Native Hospital while the Thuggee Jail marker has been severely damaged. There is nothing remaining of the building though a curious archway still stands.

Thuggee Jail marker and some ruins


View between behind the Deprat's House marker

Native Hospital marker

The house of Martin Gubbins, which should have been adjacent to Ommanney's House has been completely obliterated, whether by time or by man, it is difficult to say. Indeed, the entire area from the Grants Bastion marker to the garden center resembled, in January 2011, a rather unkempt forest.  Where the back wall of Gubbin's House should have been,  is now a brand new toilet facility. 

Grants Bastion marker

Wooded area, Gubbins House should be to the right

A well, unmarked and uncovered, close to Grant's Bastion
The Sikh Square and Horse Square, located next to the Brigade Mess consist of little more than a few outlines of buildings with some pillars remaining. Only the Horse Square still has a marker.

Horse Square with marker
Slaughterhouse Post marker
Tower in the garden centre
In the place of the racket court, indeed the entire area that should have been the Slaughter and Sheep House batteries, there is now a thriving garden centre. A few ruined buildings, including a completely intact tower - which is now used to house gardening implements, are visible yet covered over with a fine display of bougainvillea and other creeping plants. Although it does provide an interesting diversion, a garden centre is hardly what one would expect in the grounds of an archaeological site. Brick markers denote the spots of the Slaughterhouse and the Sheep House respectively.
Innes Post
Inne’s Post is somewhat difficult to locate. Like some of its compatriots all that remains is a marker and this is located, rather oddly, in what shall one day be a most charming garden. It is only with some patience that one can locate the marker itself – there are no signs pointing in that direction and visitors are most likely never to even walk the road parallel to the churchyard.

It is unclear why these buildings are not mentioned on the site plan, nor marked in any way. The grounds are well documented and enough maps exist from 1857 to give the archaeological society enough material to create a better walking tour of the area.  Losing more and more of these outlying buildings while creating an oddly fictional world lacking explanation gives the Residency a sadly plastic feel and removes it from squarely from its place in history.


1 Mutiny Records Awadh and Lucknow, (1857-1859) –Edward Hilton (1913)

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