The Igbo house at the moment is in ruins. The building though incredibly damaged and dilapidated is revivable and rich in potential. The Igbo house project therefore is to bring this historic building back to its former glory and eventually rebuild it to an ultramodern state of the earth edifice.
A project idea which has come out of community consultations is to develop it as a centre to celebrate and preserve the legacies, archives, artefacts and achievements of African history, culture and heritage in Britain. This project will seek to increase understanding of the history that African settlement has made in Britain. This is a formidable challenge as the building needs the most comprehensive of salvage jobs and overhauls. The project is estimated to cost between £2m and £3m.
Liverpool City Council is currently carrying out emergency repairs in a bid to patch up the worst of the roof damage. The main job now is to stop its further deterioration and keep it watertight allowing the community ample time to find a cocktail of funding from different agencies.
Igbo Community Liverpool is working with the council and all the African communities of Liverpool to preserve this beautiful and unique building and bring it back into use.
Chief Angus Chukuemeka, chairman of the Igbo Community in Liverpool said “Africans have got a very long history in this city and we want to celebrate that. We would like to be able to display African artefacts here, present lectures and have an African kitchen and cafe as well as a social club. We want it to be open to everyone in Liverpool and we want to celebrate the achievements of our ancestors and recognise the contribution they have made to the city. I was here in the building’s glory days when it served the community so well. This area used to be so vibrant. The social club attracted people from all over the city. Hopefully, it can be like that again in the future.”
The pictures here show the present state of the building in its ruins. While it’s depressing to see the shocking and pitiful state of the building’s interior, it is impossible not to recognise that – with lots of tender love care and lots of investment, this could, again, come alive.