Recreating Pre-colonial Forts and Castles: Heritage Policies and Restoration Practices in the Gold Coast/Ghana, 1945 to 1970s

  • Jon Olav Hove
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


This chapter analyses the management and restoration of ancient fortifications along the coast of the present-day Republic of Ghana from 1945 to the late 1970s when they were included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It shows that these fortifications exist in Ghana today because they were preserved through use as administrative centres and disciplinary institutions by colonial and post-colonial regimes. Yet, restoration practices have generally sought to recreate the imagined pre-colonial “original” structures by removing newer additions. This recreation of the pre-colonial appearance has impacted on understandings of these forts and castles; rather than being monuments reflecting several periods, they are largely associated with the pre-colonial period.


Archival sources

  1. Public Records and Archives Administration Department, Accra. Google Scholar
  2. CSO 14 Public Works.Google Scholar
  3. RG 3 Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  4. RG 5 Ministry of Works and Housing.Google Scholar
  5. RG 7 Ministry of Industries.Google Scholar
  6. RG 11 National Council for Higher Education.Google Scholar
  7. RG13 National Archives of Ghana.Google Scholar
  8. The National Archives, London. Google Scholar
  9. CO 927 Colonial Office, research department, original correspondence.Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Amegatcher, Guilbert, “West African Historical Museum, Cape Coast”, Museum 29: 2/3, (1977).Google Scholar
  2. Anquandah, Kwesi J., Castles & Forts of Ghana (Accra: Ghana Museum & Monuments Board, 1999).Google Scholar
  3. Crinson, Mark, “Nation-building, collecting and the politics of display”, Journal of the History of Collections 13: 2, (2001).Google Scholar
  4. Duah, Francis Bakye, “Museum & History: Cape Coast Castle Museum”, Museum & History in West Africa ed. by Claude Daniel Ardouin and Emmanuel Arinze (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  5. Fage, J. D., et al., “A new check list of the forts and castles of Ghana” (Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana 4: 1, 1959).Google Scholar
  6. Fogelman, Arianna, “Colonial Legacy in African Museology: The Case of the Ghana National Museum” (Museum Anthropology 31: 1, 2008).Google Scholar
  7. Gold Coast Survey Department, Atlas of the Gold Coast (Accra: Gold Coast Survey Department, 1949).Google Scholar
  8. Government Publications Relating to Africa, Annual Departmental Reports Relating to the Gold Coast and British Togoland, 1943–1956, n.d.Google Scholar
  9. Hassard, Frank, “Towards a new vision of restoration in the context of global change” (Journal of the Institute of Conservation 31: 2, 2009).Google Scholar
  10. Hutchinson, Charles Francis, The Pen-Pictures of Modern Africans and African Celebrities: a collective biography of elite society in the Gold Coast Colony, ed. by Michel Doortmont ([the author, 1928]; Leiden: Brill, 2005).Google Scholar
  11. Jørgensen, Anne Mette (ed.), Danskernes Huse på Guldkysten 1659–1850 (København: Forlaget Vandkunsten, 2014).Google Scholar
  12. Lawrence, A.W., Trade Castles & Forts of West Africa (London: Jonathan Cape, 1963).Google Scholar
  13. Liscombe, Rhodri Windsor, “Modernism in Late Imperial British West Africa: The Work of Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, 1946–56”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 65: 2, (2006).Google Scholar
  14. O’Neil, B.H. St. J., Report on Forts and Castles of Ghana, October 1951 (Ghana Museum and Monuments Board, n.d.).Google Scholar
  15. Schramm, Katharina, African Homecoming (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2010).Google Scholar
  16. van Dantzig, Albert, Forts and Castles of Ghana (Accra: Sedco, 1980).Google Scholar
  17. Wright, Richard, Black Power (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1954).Google Scholar

Internet sources

  1. Ghana Museum and Monuments Board:

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Olav Hove
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Historical StudiesNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations