On “Town Planning in West Africa”

in Cultural + Heritage by

The more things change, the more they stay the same? A familiar depiction of present-day Accra, Ghana, but this speech was made in 1946:

“Accra is a town like Freetown. During the war, its water and electric services have had to do double work, and it has surprised me that they have managed to go on working at all. The town is developing rapidly and the need for housing is felt everywhere. Any knowledge of rents is never very accurate, and it is difficult to obtain information because the records are few, but we know that Africans are paying very large sums for terrible accommodation in Accra, for they cannot go too far outside to find new houses.
So here the problem is very largely a housing one…”

–E. MAXWELL FRY, F.R.I.B.A. “Town Planning in West Africa” (1946)

In his presentation, Fry described the British colonial government’s work on town planning in Gambia (Banjul, then known as Bathurst), Sierra Leone (Freetown), Ghana (Kumasi, Sekondi, Takoradi and Accra), Nigeria (Lagos, Kano, with mention of Port Harcourt, Enugu, Owerri).