WOODEN HOUSES OF LAHORE
A LOST TRADITION
Remnants remain here and there
The tradition of wooden houses was everywhere in Indian region and craftsmen excelled in designs and wood use both in front facades as well as inside the rooms. That is why extensive houses existed all over the region. Even today when another old house falls, inside reveals wooden structures. Brackets with wide range of animals, including lions, horses, ducks and even mermaids existed here. Arches and sitting spaces for viewing of lanes.
In the Mohalla Khawajan in Bhera, there existed many houses like this made in the British period but even those were subject to decay, fall, as well as sale to unsuspected buyers thinking of them as from ancient times.
Our research spree started n the 1977s era. But there were people before us. Lockwood Forest, an artist from New York came here and met Lockwood Kipling and together they surveyed the houses of Lahore and held an exhibition in the Lahore Museum in 1885. The love for local craftsmanship was so much, that Lockwood Forest took many local craftsmen to New York in 1885 and built a house for himself there, looking exactly like a house of Lahore. Even all the inside was wooden. Lockwood Forest offered these services to others and this antique house existed in New York for a long period of time. We do not know exactly what happened in the end but fashion magazines reported their existence for a long time.
A prestigious book DOMESTIC INDIAN ARCHITECTURE along with a lot of advertisements was published by Lockwood Forest and it itself is an antique item in the world of art. John Lockwood Kipling took many of these wooden structures, and after a flooding in Lahore, deposited some of them in the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum as well as in Lahore Museum. The doors in Lahore Museum were removed by him. Percy Brown included an image in his phenomenal book on Indian Architecture. Certainly an extensive documentation exist for some of these houses to this day in the world of Art and Architecture. Well done everybody!