Architecture is as important to a people’s history as anything. Like many things, architecture tells the story of a people and place in time. It is no different in Nigeria’s case. In fact, buildings tell the story of the country’s colonial past like no other cultural element does. So here are some of the oldest buildings in the country ever.
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1. Jaekel House
The 123-year-old building is a relic from a rather glorious place. It was a mansion in what was the rural commune of what used to be Ebutte Metta. It was converted to the headquarters of the National Railway Corporation and was so for a long time. These days, it has been converted to a well-maintained museum for NRC memorabilia. You could actually go on a tour.
2. CMS Building, Badagry
The old Vicarage for Saint Thomas Anglican Church on Badagry’s Marina was built by Rev. Henry Townsend of the CMS in 1845 and was later home to Samuel Ajayi Crowther. If you’ve ever visited Badagry for recreational reasons, you will come across this building as it is close to Badagry’s famous resorts.
3. The Cenotaph of Taiwo Olowo
Daniel Conrad Taiwo was in the class of men such as Oshodi Tapa as important men who rose from enslaved beginnings. The man was born in the Isheri community and rose to dominate trade after he moved to Lagos. He was known as Taiwo Olowo by most Lagosians in those days because he had grown very rich from trade in arms, cash crops, and everything of note.
He controlled trade routes between Lagos and the hinterlands. He also had direct links to Kosoko and replaced Tapa as a close consort of both the former king and colonial government. The Taiwo Olowo Cenotaph was constructed by Brazillian born builder Jorge Costa from melted copper coins on his tomb in a custom that Lagosians hold dear. It is located on Broad Street and his compound is across from the monument.
4. St Georges Hall, Lagos
St Georges Hall was finished in 1907 and the land was ceded to the Freemason Order by Sir Walter Egerton. The building still stands today on Broad Street a few blocks from the General Hospital.
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5. Mapo Hall, Ibadan
Finished in 1929, Mapo Hall was built for administrative purposes and public hearings but it has since outgrown those uses. These days it is open to public use as a museum, conference venue and tourist attraction.
6. Lugard Footbridge, Kaduna
Originally built in the old capital of Zungeru, the amalgamation saw the footbridge moved to Gamji Gate, Kaduna and reconstructed. Since 1956, the bridge has been classified as a national monument.
7. Oba Palace, Benin
The palace was first built during the reign of Ewedo I (1255-1280AD) and would stand till the reign of Eweka II under British rule after it had been destroyed and sacked during the expedition of 1897. It stands in the heart of the city today surrounded by Ring Road in Benin today.
8. Lugard Hall, Kaduna
The current seat of power in Kaduna state owes its rise to the amalgamation itself. It was always a seat of power of some sort-from the northern protectorate to the northern region to Kaduna state.9. King’s College, Lagos
9. King’s College, Lagos
It was built for 10,000 pounds in 1909. The school was actually built for male students for the matric exams from the University of London. The school still stands on King George V Street in Lagos Island.
Featured Image Source: Tribune Online
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