The Lutyens Trust Visit to New Delhi

5-10 October 2003

This report will be a skeleton only. The visit was so outstanding: so much was arranged for us by INTACH (Indian National Trust for Arts & Cultural Heritage) and there is so much to tell that we have decided to bring out a special New Delhi Newsletter at a later date.

The bare bones are this: Forty of us met in the Nikko Hotel and during the next five days, impeccably organised by Paul Waite, we saw all of Lutyens’ s major works in New Delhi. Starting with Kingsway and the India Gate we saw Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Mughal gardens and, something we had hardly dared hope for, the interior of Rashtrapati Bhavan including the former private rooms of the Viceroy. While there we were greatly honoured by having an audience with the President.

We were shown the Secretariats and Parliament House by Herbert Baker; Jaipur House by Blomfield; and we saw the churches by A. G. Shoosmith and Henry Medd.

Of INTACH’ s work in progress we saw St. James’s (Skinner’s) Church which is being restored, and an interesting archaeological site master-minded by O.P. Jain, the Convenor of the Delhi Chapter of INTACH.

Parallel to the architectural sightseeing there was another dimension to our tour. Before we left our Chairman, Martin Lutyens, who sadly was unable to come with us, had been in close contact with S. K. Misra, Vice Chairman of INTACH. Our visit was to be used to focus on Lutyens’s Delhi and the importance of keeping it intact. We visited INTACH’ s headquarters and Charles Lutyens, our treasurer and head of the Lutyens family, of whom there were six in the group, was interviewed by the press. He delighted them with Lutyens anecdotes and became our spokesman from then on.

A Workshop was arranged by INTACH at the IIC (India International Centre) and Mervyn Miller, architectural advisor to the Lutyens Trust, gave a talk entitled ‘Learning from Lutyens’. The conservation plan for New Delhi was discussed and it was agreed that it should be legally binding.

We were treated as delegates rather than as sightseers and were given three splendid dinners including one by the Maharajah of Patiala, Chairman of INTACH, and lunch by the Chief Minister of Delhi.

All this meant a great deal of highly successful organising by S. K. Misra and close co-operation between him and Paul, who did a brilliant job dovetailing the new events into his original plan.