Work on the first-storey building in Nigeria was led by the Church Missionary Society’s Rev. Henry Townsend and Carl Gollmer in 1842. The building was completed three years later, in 1845, and it is one of Nigeria’s most iconic constructions.
The notable Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther lived there with his family, and it was here that he translated the English bible into the Yoruba language. The first-storey building in Nigeria is also home to many historical relics, such as the first cemented well in Nigeria and the first primary school in Nigeria, renamed the St Thomas Anglican Nursery and Primary school by Reverend Carl Gollmer in 1843.
In recent years, there has been some controversy over the claim that this is the first-storey building in Nigeria. Some believe the 50-foot-tall Gobirau Minaret is Nigeria’s oldest storied structure. The Minaret was constructed between 1348 and 1398, long before Nigeria interacted with Europeans.
Despite these controversies, the first-storey building in Nigeria carries significant value for Nigerian Christians as it houses the country’s oldest Bible written in an indigenous language. It is estimated that at least 2000 people visit every year.
Project Nigeria Overview: 27 historic buildings and structures in Nigeria you should know
62 years of Project Nigeria: A story by Dutum
Episode 2: Outstanding women in the construction industry
The 123-year-old Jaekel House
Episode 5: 3 things to know about the Ancient Kano City Walls
Sir Herbert Macaulay: Nigeria’s first Civil Engineer
Episode 8: History of the Abuja National Mosque
Project Nigeria Episode 9: The First Seaport in Nigeria
An overview of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
Cocoa House Ibadan: The first skyscraper in West Africa
Episode 12: The story of the River Niger Bridge Anambra