Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Harrods Houses Of Sierra Leone

In the late 1800s, the British were in Sierra Leone, developing mining and other imperial sorts of industries. Where to house the British head honchos? When in doubt, just ship a house. And that's exactly what they did, contracting none other than the esteemed department store Harrods to pre-build a house, compact it for shipping and then send it to Freetown.

The houses are classic plantation colonial, all wood siding, tall ceilings for heat dissipation. One interesting quirk: placing the houses on tall stilts. Why? Malaria. Someone thought that you'd be out of harm's way, if you raised the house a certain height. Someone also forgot to tell the mosquitos not to fly so high.

Today, the houses are owned by the government and rented to government administrators.

Beyond being on stilts, the houses are cloistered in a few hillside neighborhoods high over Freetown.

An impressive stilt foundation. Old kitchen detail. Electricity added later.

Double outer hallway, a feature to insulate from the heat.

Living room, more like a ballroom. Dining room, modern kitchen added recently.


Today, most kitchens are at ground level in an outer building to be more convenient and minimize fire damage potential. Attic portrait.

Another house.

1 comment:

  1. We (me, mum and dad) lived in a simlar style house in the PWD compound behind the old Pandemba rd prison in i think 53/54. Would love to see some pics. I have one of part of the house in my files somewhere still looking. Regards Alan Cattell