Historically, Lagos (Nigeria) has served multiple parties as a strategic port, base and gateway to the West African hinterland. The city comprises marshland, sand beds and a series of low-lying islands that encase the city’s eponymous lagoon. Lagos is a strong attraction for migrants, whose population represents a culturally heterogeneous composition of more than 250 ethnic groups hailing from other areas of Nigeria and West Africa, which have made Lagos the dynamic melting pot it is today. With the concentration and diversity of its hosted exchanges, Lagos is a nexus for a recent wave of social and creative entrepreneurism, which has catalysed a surge in cultural consumption as well as increased investment, albeit mostly private, in cultural infrastructure.
Legacy and Jaekel House
Jaekel House in Lagos is the secretariat of the Joint Railway/Legacy Committee and currently serves as a mini-museum, exhibiting artefacts and photographs from colonial and post-colonial Nigeria. Jaekel House is part of the former National Railway Corporation (NRC) compound, which was the focus of a restoration project in the late 1990s and 2000s. The NRC, built in 1898, was home to a number of colonial-era buildings and rail infrastructure that had fallen into disrepair. In 1997, the NRC transferred ownership of a total of four buildings to Legacy, a non-profit organization, on the condition that they be used for heritage preservation purposes. The group began with the Jaekel House project, named after the late Francis Jaekel, a former superintendent of the NRC, involving the restoration of the dilapidated building with as much historical accuracy as possible. Legacy has also carried out measurement and documentation exercises on heritage buildings in Lagos Island to create a database for potential preservation projects and to advocate for their protection through public education on architectural heritage. The group receives support from the Ilukwe Estate, Leventis Foundation, the Ministry of Tourism, as well as a network of volunteers who give their time and provide funding for the projects.
Source: Arterial Network, report for Study Area 1