Five Architectural Wonders of Lagos
We all love Lagos, but how much do you know about the buildings you drive past every day? Do you ever stop to take them in or wonder what their stories are? We have a couple of buildings filled with wonder, and a very interesting history. These are just a few of them:-
The Lumpkin House
The Lumpkin House on what was formerly Porto Novo Market Street, was built around 1890 in Afro-Brazilian style. In1990, it was restored in by Godwin and Hopwood for the Leventis Foundation, which subsequently vacated in favour of a bank. The first owner was Jenkins Lumpkin (1851-1919), a physician with a diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh) and a medical degree from the University of Brussels. He was only the third African to earn the official title “colonial surgeon,” not granted lightly.
Taiwo Olowo Cenotaph
Hidden on Broad Street is the tomb of Chief Daniel Taiwo. He arrived in Lagos in 1848 and rose from humble origins, as a basket maker’s apprentice, to become an eminent personality in the political circles of the city. He died in 1901 at age 120. The copper bust on the monument was reportedly made from melted down pennies. His family house is still located across the street from the monument and still belongs to his descendants. Iga Taiwo Olowo literally translates to ‘Palace of Taiwo the Rich Man’.
The Casa Do Fernandez House built in the Brazilian Style in the 1870-1880s and more commonly known from its ground-floor tenant as the Ilojo Bar. Before it’s demolition, the building stood on Tinubu Square, a bit of whose greenery is on the right. A terracotta statue, labelled Primavera, survives on the rooftop balustrade.
Across the street from the Water House is the Vaughan house which has been preserved and maintained in the Brazilian style. One interesting bit of its architecture is the entrance arch which is preserved. Apparently every Brazilian style house had one back in the day.
Government Printing Press
The Government Printing Press was built in 1894 and lies on the corner of Broad Street and Joseph Street (named after the first Baptist Minister, Joseph Harden (1855)). It is by far the most imposing colonial building in Lagos, built with imported bricks. Each brick was stamped with the armorial bearings (‘broad arrow’) of the Quartermaster General of Britain, which appeared on all British government property.