The Watch

Old Fourah Bay College

Freetown, Sierra Leone

2006 World Monuments Watch

Soon after its establishment in 1827, Fourah Bay College in Freetown became a magnet for English-speaking Africans on the West Coast and remained the only European-style university in western Subsaharan Africa for more than a century. The building, made of local laterite and iron, was badly damaged by fire in 1999, the year a peace accord ended Sierra Leone’s nine-year civil war. Only the exterior stone shell and decorative iron entryway survived. Over the past five years, the roofless building has stood exposed to the elements and slowly deteriorated. Portions of it have been appropriated by squatters.

Since the Watch

The Bunce Island Coalition, an organization formed to preserve the ruins of the 18th century slave castle on nearby Bunce Island, intends to use the Old Fourah Bay College Building as a museum of slave trade. Bunce Island was surveyed in November 2010 in preparation for a comprehensive restoration project. The College building is in a state of ruin and is still occupied by squatters. Last update: December 2010

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