Maharajah Ranjit Singh made Lahore his capital and was able to expand the kingdom to the Khyber Pass and also includedJammu and Kashmir, while keeping the British from expanding across the River Sutlej for more than 40 years. After his death in 1839 the internecine fighting between the Sikhs and several rapid forfeitures of territory by his sons, along with the intrigues of the Dogras and two Anglo-Sikh wars, eventually led to British control of the Lahore Darbar ten years later. For the British, Punjab was a frontier province, because Lahore had boundaries with Afghanistan and Persia. Therefore, the Punjabis, unlike the Bengalis and the Sindhis, were not allowed to use their mother tongue as an official language. The British first introduced Urdu as an official language in Punjab, including Lahore, allegedly due to a fear of Punjabi nationalism. Under British rule (1849–1947), colonial architecture in Lahore combined Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles. Under British rule, Sir Ganga Ram(sometimes referred to as the father of modern Lahore) designed and built the General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Mayo School of Arts (now the NCA), Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady Mclagan Girls High School, the chemistry department of the Government College University, the Albert Victor wing of Mayo Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School (now Lahore College for Women) the Hailey College of Commerce, Ravi Road House for the Disabled, the Ganga Ram Trust Building on Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, and the Lady Maynard Industrial School. He also constructed Model Town, a suburb that has recently developed into a cultural center for Lahore's growing socioeconomic elite.
The GPO and YMCA buildings in Lahore commemorated the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, an event marked by the construction of clock towers and monuments all over British India. Other important British buildings included the High Court, the Government College University, the museums, the National College of Arts, Montgomery Hall, Tollinton Market, the University of the Punjab (Old Campus) and the Provincial Assembly. Even today, Mall Road retains a variety of Gothic and Victorian style buildings built during the British Raj. At one end of The Mall stands the university, one of the most prestigious in Pakistan. The British also launched the city's first horse-racing club in 1924, starting a tradition that continues today at the Lahore Race Club.