Baker Scholarship to the British School at Rome



Also Herbert Baker [Architectural] Scholarship and Sir Herbert Baker [Architectural] Scholarship.

The late Sir Herbert BAKER RA, FRIBA., created a Trust Fund in 1912. BAKER took this step in appreciation of Cecil John Rhodes' gesture in sending him, as a promising young architect in South Africa, to Italy and Greece. BAKER also made, in his way, an attempt to advance the study of architecture in South Africa. The income from this trust was utilised periodically to assist South African architects to proceed overseas to study Italian and Greek classical architecture.

Initially the Trust was vested in four trustees: General J.C. Smuts, Sir Lionel Phillips, Mr. Patrick Duncan and Mr. Walter Webber. During 1925 the trust was transferred to the Federal Council on Architectural Education in South Africa. From 1930 to 1962 the Trust vested in the Central Council of the Institute of South African Architects. In the 1931-32 SAIA Yearbook it is mentioned that the Central Council had appointed Mr. Robert HOWDEN [then President-in Chief], Mr Ritchie FALLON [then Vice-President-in-Chief] and Mr JS CLELAND [Government Architect] as the three Trustees. During 1932-33 Mr WS PAYNE replaced Mr. FALLON while the Trustees remained unchanged till 1939. The SAIA Yearbooks for 1957-58 and 1959 states that the Trusteeship rested with Messrs WS PAYNE [Durban], Mr DS HADDON and NL HANSON [Johannesburg], while a final mention was made in the Yearbooks of 1960 and 1961 that the trustees were: Prof NL HANSON [Johannesburg] [SAIA Gold Medal for Architecture], Mr SN TOMKIN [Durban] [SAIA Medal of Distinction] and Mr JM COWIN [Johannesburg] [SAIA Medal of Distinction].

One of the provisions incorporated by Sir Herbert Baker in the Trust Deed is that, if the Union of South Africa at any time ceased to be a portion of the British Empire, then the Trust shall be determined and transferred to the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. When the Republic of South Africa withdrew from the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Trust with its accumulated funds, was transferred to the RIBA.

Originally the Scholarship was worth £250, it increased to £350 in 1932-33 and again in 1957-58 to £400. This last amount was applicable till 1960. It is interesting to note that up to 1960, the scholarship was open to any person who was a British subject of not more than thirty-three years of age and who has spent a period of six years or more in the study or practice of architecture. Of this period not less than four years shall have been spent in South Africa. The Baker Scholar was required to spend not less than seven months in Rome [or partly in Rome and Athens] and three months in London.

The Herbert Baker Architectural Scholarship existed for forty-nine years from 1912 to 1961, when South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth and the funds were transferred to the RIBA. The BSR, in its present form, had been in existence since 1901. Its activities have been interrupted briefly … by the Great War and for eight years during World War II. This leaves, approximately thirty-nine years in which the Scholarship could have been awarded. From the beginning, the intention was to award it every two years. This means that it could have been awarded nineteen or twenty times. However, it was awarded only twelve times, leaving seven to eight times when it was not awarded.

For a list of recipients see BAKER SCHOLARS.

The Herbert Baker Scholarship was reinstituted as The South African Institute of Architects Rome Scholarship in Architecture.

Extracted and edited from an electronic document authored by Prof Paul KOTZE.