"The man who goes alone can start today;
But he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready"

-Henry David Thoreau

Jaekel House and the Railway Compound Museum

A few Saturdays ago we visited this really cool Railway Mini Museum at the Nigerian Railway Corporation Compound, Ebute Metta. We were invited to the Fit-Food-Fun event hosted by LEGACY, a non-profit set up to protect and restore historic buildings in Nigeria. If you’re not much of the history/museum lover, bet you’re wondering what’s cool about it. Here are a few things.

Jaekel House

The first thing you see when you arrive is this interesting 2 storey Tropical Colonial style piece of architecture which was built in the 1900s, just sitting there and taking you back in time. It was built to house the General Managers of the Railways and is named after Patrick Jaekel, a former Chief Superintendent of the Railways who came to Nigeria in 1938.

It was restored to near its original state by Legacy and BG Exploration. It now serves as a mini railway museum.

We couldn’t get enough pictures of the building. It’s just so awesome, even Jameson Whiskey used the compound to host their event.

The Garden, the Railway Inspection Van and Pump Trolley

Mats and tents were set up on the lawn on in front of the Jaekel house where we rested after the different activities, munching away at small bites in the fortunately cool afternoon. The spot is great for a picnic if you visit.

There’s a large field at the rear of the house. We picnicked, took paint classes, got our gloves on and learnt how to throw some punches before ending the day with movies in the cool evening air. Awesome right?

But even more fun is exhibit on the front lawn. It’s the second thing that strikes you as you arrive. It like a section of a train on tracks with a bicycle sort of thing on it but we learnt it is a railway inspection van and a pump trolley which was used back in the day by the superintendents to inspect the railway tracks and such. It doesn’t go for a ride but this is the best spot for photos and we posed as railway workers. There’s also a water column exhibit which served to supply water for the steam engines as well as two types of train tracks.

The Exhibits

The Jaekel House exhibits clothes, equipment, crockery and other artifacts used in the the Railway Service back in the colonial era as well as old pictures of political events and of old Lagos that cannot be found anywhere. No kidding some of the things are so impressive but more impressive is that almost all of our railway infrastructure is over was put in place over 100years ago. We had steam trains and tramways running way back then with officers on duty to devotedly check the smooth operation of the railway system.

By far the most impressive exhibit is a photo of Marina from the 1900s in which the lagoon is right next to the Cathedral Church of Christ. You literally see nothing further than that- just water. No Victoria Island…nothing. Mind blowing. Sorry pictures aren’t allowed in the museum so we can’t show you so you have to go see it for yourself.

We had a great time on our trip to the Railway Compound Museum. If you have nothing to do on a weekend, grab a bunch of friends and some food and head on over there. Tell us all about it in the comments when you do go and tag us to your photos on Instagram.

Till then, safe travels.

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