Housing in Obuasi

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The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the growth of Obuasi with particular reference to housing, and to analyze bow much the company has contributed towards its growth. This dissertation is achieved as the result of field work in Obuasi, examination of maps and building plans, thorough study of relevant records and finally references from documentary sources, quoted in the text and listed in the reference. Obuasi is a unique and an interesting town to study. Unlike other mining towns, Prestea and. Obuasi were founded and built by the mining companies. It is quite evident that other companies also have contributed in building towns in which they have individually established. Nevertheless, their problems might not be measured with the companies which have actually started building towns from their infancies. Obuasi is 53 miles by road and 33 miles by rail from Kumasi. Greater part of the town lies in a broad gap in Dampia range with only the residential area of the Ashanti Gold fields Corporation Limited and the Senior Civil Servants being built on the slopes. To trace the development it is necessary to examine conditions prevailing before modern mining started. Before the A.G,C.ⁿ came to Obuasi the land was almost empty. It is unfortunate there is no survey sheet published by the Survey Department during those days. Obuasi was omitted because it was considered not existing despite its 12 huts. This applied to some other towns and villages as well. Ashanti Goldfields Corporation was formed in 1897. It took over from a email company — the cots d’or Company (Gold Coast Company) which had been formed two years previously by a Merchant in London, Edwin Arther Cade. Cads approached the rival kings of Adansi and Bekwai, who disputed the ownership of Obuasi land and obtained a concession recognized by both of them. Soon afterwards, in 1897, the British Government after announcing its annexation with Ashanti, also recognized the concession. In the same year the new Ashanti Goldfields Corporation was formed and took over the entire concession from Cote d’or Company. From the preceding development it was evident that the A.G.C. became the rightful owner of the land which was built up by them of about 12 huts, the occupants of which were hunters. Today Obuasi has a population of 23,239 a growth which could no doubt, be attributed mainly to the establishment of the mines. The first permanent structure built by the Europeans who came to (Obuasi was a fort on a hill behind the present mine’s main office. This building was until very recently the General Manager’s residence. It was referred to as a fort because it was there that the Europeans took refuge behind a stockade during Ashanti War in 1900-1901. Hitherto, there were some difficulties which hindered the progress of the mining industry; difficulties like poor transport and recruitment of labour. However, the company managed to surmount some of these difficulties. A railway line was extended from Tarkwa to Obuasi in 1902. The extension eased the transportation of machinery. The introduction of machinery had increased the scope of the industry and as a result, there was an increase in labour force and thus swelling the population of the town; and thereby demanding the building of more houses. Growth in Population as against number of Houses built Obuasi 1901 1911 1921 1931 1948 1960 ºPopulation 400 5626 6626 7598 15724 22818 ¹Houses - 1100 1155 2654 7094 8126 The figures quoted for houses do not appear correct. These figures might probably appear convincing if they represent number of rooms which were perhaps compiled to assess rate-payers.
A Dissertation Presented In a partia1 fulfilment of Master of Science Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, 1965