The Freedom Park Lagos is now a peaceful place for individual and collective contemplation and interaction, and is dedicated to preserving the Lagos colonial heritage and the history of the old colonial prison. It is a serene memorial and leisure park, located on Board Street in Lagos Island. It is a must-visit, for open-air concerts, shows, plays and for viewing art collections. The beauty of nature and the peaceful ambience are qualities found in the park and are quite the opposite of this structure’s original use.
The park was once called “Her Majesty’s Prison” and was constructed during the colonial period in Nigeria. An instrument of control and oppression, it was constructed to hold criminals and other persons inimical to colonial rule. Along with felons the prison held a number of important political and historical personalities including Herbert Macauley, Chief Awolowo and Alhaji Lateef Jakande with a view to suppressing political agitation. Today, a late afternoon visit to the new Freedom Park is a treat. Being with a tour of Kongi’s Harvest Gallery.
This museum houses Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka’s collection of artworks and artifacts, in addition to works by other artists. Follow this with a stroll though the park and look at some parts of the prison that have been preserved and replicas of some features such as the old cell units which have been created. Continue past historical statues and past the ponds and fountains, and sop at the food court. Once refreshed, visit the mini-museum, see the amphi-theatre, and stop at the pergola cells, which are now internet booths and are the actual sizes of the cells in the prison, then, finish off with a dance under the moonlight to the music of the regular band.
Old Prison Grounds, beside Island Maternity
Hospital, Board Street,
Tel: 01-8428440, 08033022587.
Open weekdays and weekends