Born in Hamburg, Germany, into a Lutheran family, Henry Frederick Busch travelled in Austria and in Russian-occupied Poland and spent about ten years in the United States, probably getting some architectural training there. Thus acquainted with the architecture of both the old world and the new, he came to Nova Scotia to visit his uncle Charles Walters, a boat builder in Chester, and married Mary Victoria, the daughter of a Captain Skinner.
Engaged as a draughtsman by architect Henry Elliot in 1861, Busch supervised the construction of the Union Marine Insurance building in Halifax. He became a partner in the firm of Elliot & Busch in 1864. In 1876, the partners separated, although they remained in the same Union Marine Building on Bedford Row, Halifax.
By the mid-1870’s, the Second Empire style had reached Nova Scotia, and Henry Busch became its foremost exponent. His work can be seen in the Halifax Academy Building (1878), the Halifax Dispensary (c.1880), The Old Ladies Home, the J. Wesley Smith House (1878), and the bandstand in the Halifax Public Gardens. His design for the Normal School at Truro (1877) is considered an exemplary adaption of the style and was chosen in a Parks Canada publication on the Second Empire style to illustrate its influence in Nova Scotia.
Henry F. Busch was naturalized in1874. He had acquired considerably property. Two of his sons were trained in the Busch Office. When he died in1902, survived by his wife, five children and his uncle Charles Walters, his estate was valued at $145,000. He had been a prominent architect for forty years, much esteemed also by contractors. His practice passed to his son Walter Johannes Busch.