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

and a catalogue of Views of Achimota College c. 1945 by the Ministry of Information, West African Photographic Service at

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



  • Jonathan Roberts

    Hi – I have similar photos from the West African Photographic Service, but I got them from the Basel Mission archives. Are these under copyright? I would like to publish a few of them in a book I have written about the history of medicine in Accra. The publisher is Indiana University Press. Please let me know where to find the rest of these West African Photographic Service photos if you can. Thanks,

    Jonathan Roberts
    Review Editor – Canadian Journal of African Studies
    Chair – Department of History
    Mount Saint Vincent University
    166 Bedford Highway, Halifax, NS
    B3M 2J6

  • how do I access the photographs on-line from Achimota School 1955-1962 please. I see many of them described on the

    website but do not see any images/photographs.
    I am attempting to locate a photograph of Bridget Margaret Desmond who taught at the Achimota School form 1956-1962.

  • Marcus Connolly

    My birth mother taught at Achimota High School from 1957 to 1963.

    I have been searching for her for 45 years

    I do not have a photograph of her, can anyone help please?

    Thank you

    Philip Desmond

  • My name is Vivian Hazel Adzaku and I attended Achimota 1961-1963, Kingsley House. I am in the school photograph taken outside the Assembly Hall in 1962. I have a copy, but it is deteriorating…I would really like to get a new copy! Does anyone know if and how that might be done?

    I am currently retired in the US, but I lived in Ghana 1955-63, and 1973-81,

    • Dear Vivian,

      I’ll be in touch regarding your request.

      Best wishes, John


    • Hi Vivian just wondering if you knew a Harold John Andrews he was a teacher at ACHIMOTA college in the 50s 60s he married Margaret remert he was also known as Jack I’m trying to get pictures of ACHIMOTA college in 40s the 50s and 60s he might be on a photo many thanks tom

  • Margaux Lavernhe


    I am currently conducting a PhD research on a photographer from Accra, James Barnor. He told me that his uncle, named Julius Aikins, was trained in the West African Photographic Service, but I can’t find much information about this organization, apart from the fact that it was a colonial institution attached to the Ministry of Information.
    Would anyone here know where I could find further information and/or about the WAPS?

    Thank you,

    Best regards.

    Margaux Lavernhe
    PhD Student, EHESS (Paris)

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