Ghana, a photographic history: images of Achimota College

Michael Fuller

Michael John Fuller worked at the front desk in the main Reading Room of Cambridge University Library from June 1992 until his sudden death in June 2012. For these twenty years his was the friendly face which welcomed visitors to the Library. Unfailingly courteous, patient and good humoured, Michael shared his immense knowledge and experience of the Library and its collections with thousands of readers, assisting them in their studies and researches. These readers came from all over the world. Michael himself was born in Ghana in 1963 and spent his early childhood there. The following blog-posts showing images selected from the immensely rich resource of the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Photograph Collection in Cambridge University Library offer a foretaste of a much larger digital exhibition of historical photographs of the Gold Coast and Ghana to be mounted in memory of Michael by the Library and with the support of his family.

The RCS Department is most grateful to volunteer Francesca Issatt who assisted in the selection of photographs and authored these posts whilst studying for her MA in Photographic History and Practice at De Montfort University.

This first post highlights a number of collections which have material relating to Achimota College including photographs by the Ministry of Information, headmasters and staff. Subject matter ranges from college lessons and sports teams to the 1939 Accra Earthquake and the visit of the Ashantehene.

Photographs by the Ministry of Information were taken in the 1940s and give a comprehensive record of the college’s work showing various lessons and sporting events. They are staged scenes and have been reproduced in many books and articles.  By double-clicking on any of the photographs you can view a larger image.

Geography lesson at Achimota College, RCS Y30448H/11

An aerial photograph of the college taken in the 1950s clearly shows the circular layout of the campus. The accompanying map shows some of the key buildings which can just be made out from the photograph.

Aerial photograph of Achimota College, RCS Y30448I/61-61a

The Winlaw collection also contains photographs by the Ministry of Information and images taken by A.W.E Winlaw himself as well as Alan Rudwick (staff from 1951, headmaster 1960s). Of particular interest are several group photographs of house officers and sports teams which have been identified and named.

Cadbury House Officers, 1958, RCS Y30448I/195

Cadbury Ninoes, 1958, RCS Y30448I/196

 

 

Cadbury Brothers Memorial Plaque, RCS Y30448I/91

A plaque commemorates the opening of the college’s gymnasium in 1957.

A catalogue of the A.W.E. Winlaw photograph collection may be viewed online at http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FY30448I

and a catalogue of Views of Achimota College c. 1945 by the Ministry of Information, West African Photographic Service at http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FY30448H

Future posts will include spectacular panoramic images of Ghana, a nursing archive, a gold mine and a garden party at Old Government House.

 

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