Old Fourah Bay College

Education for west Africa


The Old Fourah Bay College as an institution started at Regent village in 1827 for short-coursemen. Completed in 1848, the current relic building housed the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) Institution for training teachers and missionaries. In 1876, it was transformed into a university college affiliated with Durham University. It served not only Sierra Leone, but the whole of British West Africa. The first university-based on Western Education, Religion and Civilization equated to the Sankore University in Timbuktu in the 12th Century Mali Empire, purely based on Islamic education and civilization. Many prominent Sierra Leone citizens, including Samuel Ajayi Crowther, studiedin this Institution.

During World War 2, the College was transferred to Mabang in the Moyamba District. The current relic was subsequently used as the headquarters of the Sierra Leone Government Railway and later as a Magistrate’s Court. The Original Fourah Bay College Building is located at Ross Road, Clinetown, Eastend of Freetown. It was proclaimed a National Monument in 1955.

The building is a massive four-story structure built of dressed blocks of laterite. It has a grand entrance supported by large cast-iron columns. Most of the building is still intact, even though it lost its entire roof in a fire accident. With the loss of the roof, rainwater started percolating within the building, which is overcome with algae and other plant growth. As I carefully walkthrough from the back entrance stirs into the building, one can see the weaken interior layouts and debris of fallen- off laterite blocks, rendering the building unsafe and there is a need for the preservation and conservation of such important historical relics that exhibited the phrase;

“Athens of West Africa”

Special mention to the Assistant Director of Cultural Affairs, Sierra Leone, Mr. Ishmeal A Kamara. For providing writings, research and advise.

This takes us to the relevant institutions responsible for the preservation of the historical monuments and relics, the Monuments and Relics Commission (MRC), and the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA). Extending thanks to all for viewing and encouraging all to be part of and provide a supporting hand towards the drive of safeguarding a significant heritage for posterity.

Thank you to the Sierra Leone National Tourist Board for their support in making all the VAfrica VSalone Travel guide content!!


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