Barnes’ Court, colonial building and state guest house, Simla

Barnes’ Court,Tudor-styled heritage building,Simla, Look and Learn

Barnes’ Court, this Tudor-style heritage building is  a historical and architectural masterpiece  over-looking the hills and forested area on the south side and adjacent to  Civil Secretariat Complex on the West. It was right here, the historic Shimla Agreement between India  and Pakistan,  was signed in 1972 and it was graced by the late PM Indira Gandhi and Z. A. Bhutto, PM of Pakistan and his daughter late Benazir Bhutto (later PM of Pakistan; unfortunately she was assassinated a decade ago). Built in 1832, now it serves as  the office and residence of the governor of Himachal Pradesh. Its first occupant was  the then British commander-inchief of the Indian Army, Sir Edward Barnes (hence the name, Barnes’ Court). The two-storey building, with teak wood doors and large bay windows, after a break, from 1849 to 1864, had also served as the residence of various British commander sin- chief, such as General Napier, General Campbell and General Rose.

 Earlier it was a single storey  building with slate roofing on the top. The new structure was built during 1879-1886 at a cost of Rs. 3,02,257/- only. Barnes Court is a partly single and partly double-storied building, facing west and south , the principal entrance being on the latter side. During the Lieutenant -Governorship of Sir C.U. Aitchison,
double-storied building came up.   Lower storey being a ball room, and the upper story was meant for  the offices of the Lieutenant-Governor and his Private Secretary. The Barnes Court Complex has an area of 9647 square meters.

entrance, Barnes court, Raj bhavan, Simla, HMPinterest
 This historical building houses the  office and residence of H.E. the Governor of Himachal Pradesh.Also included is the provision for the Governor's staff, etc., besides  library, guest rooms, dressing room, servant rooms, store, VVIPs bed rooms with attached sitting, pantry, dinning room and billiards rooms and others.

This two storied building has stone masonry foundation with load bearing walls in super-structure  made of  Dhaji.  Built in traditional mud and wooden posts. the walls have wooden paneling inside and flooring supported by steel joists. The false wooden ceiling is beautifully carved. 

After a long break, from  1849 to 1864, many top officials were residing here, notably  Commanders-in-Chief, General Napier, General Gom, General Anson, General Campbell and General Rose. Sir Edward Barnes held the title of the plot, later it changed hands to late Major S.B. Goad. On 11th April,1878, the Punjab government wanted to convert it into an official  residence for  the Lieutenant- Governor, Sir Robert Egerton, who first  went regularly into residence at Barnes Court in 1879.  The new building was built during 1879-1886 at a cost of Rs. 3,02,257/- only; earlier, it was a 
single story building with slate roofing on the top. 
During the Lieutenant -Governorship of Sir C.U. Aitchison,extensive additions were made; the lower storey being a ball room, and the upper rooms, etc were for ` the offices of the Lieutenant-Governor 
 and his Private Secretary. subsequently, several occupants and others  made valid contribution to make this building look like a typical English building. Mention may be made of  the Governor Sir Malcolm Hailey and Lady Haileywho made several further garden improvements.  The moorish’ styled ball room saw beautiful decorations, etc., under the expert guidance of  Mr. Lockwood Kipling, for many years, the Principal of the  Mayo School of Art, Lahore.

Till 1966, it was the summer Raj Bhavan and later it became a state guest house.