Saturday, May 19, 2012

Photos of Freetown's Historical Architecture

Earlier in May there was a very lovely series of photographs taken by Finbarr O'Reilly for Reuters and organized as a slideshow on the Guardian website. I'm reposted my favorites along with the (somewhat inaccurate) captions, although the whole series is really special. And I don't mean to be snarky about the labels, this is an esoteric topic and hard facts on the origins of West Africa's antiquated buildings are generally very few.

The stilted British Hill Station is particularly stunning, and I can't think of anything like it in Liberia. I haven't spent much time in Sierra Leone and I was surprised that such careworn but intact examples still existed in central Freetown.

Incidentally, many of these examples are featured in the more comprehensive cataloging that Tim Hetherington undertook in November of 2004-- a topic on which we exchanged emails several years ago, the only time I communicated with him prior to his sudden death. 

 Board houses like this one on Pademba Road, dating back about a century, 
are thought to replicate the style of American east coast architecture of about 1776

 About 100 years old, this colonial-style Congo Town board house has a provisions shop

 The main road in Congo Town is signposted on a board house 
that seems to have been extended over the years

 Painted weatherboarding covers the facade of a board house on King Street. 
The traditional dwellings are known as 'bode ose' in the Krio creole

 This two-storey board house is in Murray Town. 
The architecture recalls the West Indies as well as 18th America

Wooden stilts raise a former British colonial administration building in Hill Station. 
About 100 years ago the British authorities relocated their settlement 
from the stifling coastal flats to higher, cooler, ground

  Latice-work protects the stairway of a former British colonial administration building
 in the Hill Station neighbourhood

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