Building for the Raj: Richard Roskell Bayne

Anthony Welch, Martin Segger, Nicholas DeCaro


In 1995 the University of Victoria acquired the Bayne Archives, a collection of more than 735 drawings, watercolours, architectural plans, and other papers that document the life and career of Richard Roskell Bayne (1837–1901), an English architect who practised in Calcutta and other Indian cities between 1866–90 as an employee of the East Indian Railway. For two years at the outset of his career from 1864–66 Bayne travelled widely in Europe to study historic architecture and to provide meticulous documentation of buildings and architectural ornament for his older brother’s stained glass firm of Heaton, Butler, and Bayne. He produced hundreds of accomplished drawings of buildings in France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, and Constantinople, and he continued his passionate attention to historic architecture in India. Some of his drawings there are measured and were intended for publication. As a railway engineer, he built bridges, train stations, and bungalows, but he also had the opportunity to design monumental buildings such as the East India Railway Office and the New Market in Kolkata, the Thornhill and Mayne Memorial in Allahabad, the Hussainabad Clock Tower in Lucknow, the Oak Grove School in Mussoorie, and the palace of the Maharaja of Durbunga. When he retired, he left India and established himself as an architect in Victoria, B.C. In 1893 he competed unsuccessfully for the design of the British Columbia Parliament Building.  He died in 1901.   


Richard Roskell Bayne (1837–1901); British colonial architecture; architecture of the British Raj; Indian architecture; British architects in India

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