The Lucknow Residency - History and Facts | History Hit

The Lucknow Residency

Arya nagar, Uttar Pradesh, India

The Lucknow Residency in Awadh was the site of a famous nineteenth century siege against the British.

Image Credit: saiko3p / Shutterstock

About The Lucknow Residency

Built in 1800, the Lucknow Residency was the home of the British High Commissioner during the British colonial period in Lucknow, the capital of what was then the area of Oud.

History of the Lucknow Residency

The British had annexed Oud in 1856, a move which created a great deal of resent amidst locals.

In 1857, there was an uprising against the British, known as the First War of Indian Independence or the Indian Rebellion of 1857. As tensions rose, around 1,500 British residents took shelter in the Lucknow Residency together with the same number of Indian private soldiers to protect them. With them was High Commissioner Henry Lawrence.

On 1 July 1857, the Lucknow Residency came under siege. Despite being severely outnumbered and suffering dire conditions, the besieged managed to hold out for 87 days, transforming the once grand building into a hospital, arsenal and shelter.

However, despite attempts to relieve those trapped inside, the siege ended in defeat for the British and the deaths of over 2,000 people, including Henry Lawrence. Many Indian soldiers who had sided with the British were included in the casualties list.

The British would later recapture Lucknow and those who perished defending (around 2000 men) it are now buried at the site, in the cemetery around the ruined St Mary’s Church.

The complex of the Lucknow Residency is also preserved in the same state as it was at the end of the siege, including walls marked with bullet holes.

The Lucknow Residency today

The residency has a small museum with exhibitions about the history of the siege, as well as images of how the building would have looked in its prime. The ruins and gardens make an enjoyable hour or so of wandering, and remain incredibly evocative.

Getting to the Lucknow Residency

The Residency is located in the heart of modern Lucknow, and is easily accessible from nearby sites. Lucknow City railway station is just under 2km away.

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