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After years of neglect…

Old Fourah Bay College building fenced

August 17, 2016 Joseph S. Margai

After several years of neglect by authorities concerned, the Monuments and Relics Commission has finally taken and erected a perimeter fence around the old Fourah Bay College building situated at Cline Town in the eastern part of Freetown.

It could be recalled that on February 16, 1827, The Church Missionary Society (CMS) founded Fourah Bay College- the first college in West Africa.

Originally intended as an Anglican missionary school to train teachers for the promotion of education and Christianity, the college later became a degree awarding  institution in 1876, when it affiliated with Durham University in England.

As a result of the affiliation, students at Fourah Bay College studied the same curriculum and took examinations identical to those administered to Durham University students.  The curriculum of both institutions reflected the popular subjects of liberal arts- Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, History, Natural Science, French, and German.

The old FBC building is situated at Cline town. It is a massive four-storey structure, built of dressed stone blocks of laterite. The construction of the building started in 1845 and completed in 1848.

During World War II, the British took over Fourah Bay College because of its strategic location in Freetown and used it as part of the war effort.

The faculty, staff and students of the institution were relocated forty miles away and placed in temporary facilities along Mabang in the Moyamba district, southern Sierra Leone. After the war, the College was taken to its present location on Mount Aureol in Freetown.

The old Fourah Bay College building, which is located at Cline Town, was abandoned for several years and it was being used by prostitutes, as well as a safe haven for criminals. Residents in the surrounding were using it as a store for their unwanted belongings, while others were using it as a dumping site.

However, the Monuments and Relics Commission has finally fenced the building, so as to prevent encroachers and preserve it touristic value.

The Research and Development Officer at the Monuments and Relics Commission, Tommy E. Kain, disclosed that they have created a buffer zone to prevent encroachers, and that they would  develop a proposal for the government and donors to help in refurbishing  the building.

“There are a few people still occupying the building despite notices of eviction by authorities of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority. We have written a letter to the Inspector General of Police, requesting him to help us evict those illegal occupants,” he said.

He said the building would be used for academic purpose and that authorities at FBC have expressed interest in getting an African Studies Department.

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