A glimpse of James Town

Built in the 1930s the lighthouse on the Atlantic coast still stands strong, one of the relics of the British presence in Accra.

Jamestown is a deep-rooted and vibrant part of Accra. The intriguing town cluttered in shacks and homes embodies some of Ghana’s historic moments.

A school of thought believes that the town was named after King James I of Great Britain after he gave a royal charter to build James Fort Prison, others say it was named after James the son of Joseph Davidson, a slave master during the era of Gold Coast, the period of slave trade and colonization.



It is thrilling to drive through the noisy, busy town as you will come across fascinating historic architectures of old Ghana.

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The Mantse-we, the chief’s palace, was built by the British and it still houses the current chief of James Town, Oblempong Nii Kojo Ababio V, Paramount Chief and President of the Ngleshie Alata Traditional Council.




The remains of Sea View Hotel, the first hotel built during the colonial era.

It was quite sad to see the Sea View Hotel demolished and rumoured to be replaced with a church building. Having nothing against Christianity the Sea View Hotel had it been well managed could have generated income and created jobs.


The James Fort Prison was originally built for the British colonialists. It was later turned into a prison after the abolition of slave trade.

Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah was imprisoned there for years.

The prison was abandoned in 2007 and currently serves as a tourist site.

The first port and harbour in Accra was at James Town and in 1960 it was moved to Tema.

The tunnel served as a passage for slaves from the James Fort to the slave ships.



IMG_3387manchieA climb of the old lighthouse of James Town unveils an ecstatic view of the bubbling busy sight of a section of the city. James Town has a great tourism potential and when harnessed would create a strong impact on Ghana’s economy.

As I went to the town to take these photographs, a shabbily dressed man walked up to me and tried to stop me. He said I had to seek approval from the Chief’s palace. Strange as it sounded I did not decline. On our way to the palace he said he was a voluntary tour guide and would take me round for some small cedis.

Where are the appropriate authorities and what are they doing?

We’ve always bemoaned our educational curricular for being highly theoretical and less practical. James Town can easily serve as a practical history town.

Jamestown is truly a sleeping giant in tourism.

Photos and Story by Ayerkie Narnor | tv3network.com

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