Gillian Hopwood inspecting her photo works
Gillian Hopwood at the exhibition of her work in Lagos. Photo: Premium Times /Ben Ezemalu

Gillian Hopwood; British-Nigerian photographer and architect, distinguished, with her husband, John Godwin for the Lagos heritage project which documents the history and legacies of Lagos in photos. Husband and wife were born in 1928 and 1927 respectively, and both qualified as architects through the Architectural Association, London. The couple came to Lagos in 1954 and have stayed in the city where they have been running their architectural practice. Gillian and John have their experiences about Lagos documented in two books, Sandbank City-. Lagos at 150 and A Photographer’s Odyssey 1954 – 2014. They started with the Lagos Walkabout project which involves guiding groups of people through Lagos streets and discussing architecture and history of buildings.

With a house built in Boyle Street, Lagos Island, John and his wife saw both the Lagos of colonial days and that of the new, not failing to track the high rate of growth in population. During their first tour of 18 months, they lived in Ebute Metta, and later returned to start their own practice as they moved to the Lagos Island. While still living in Ebute Metta, they worked in Broad Street and were able to go home for lunch and return to work within the hour, an impossible feat in modern times. When John arrived Lagos in 1954 he had spent many hours walking through the Lagos streets identifying interesting buildings. With his wife he sets out on weekends, usually Sundays taking photographs which they sent to their friends and relations invariably forming a rich archives of old Lagos. Gullian arrived in Lagos nine weeks after him with a new camera – a present from her father. John has been awarded OBE and OFR while his wife has been honoured with MFR. Both have stayed in Lagos for over sixty years,  where they have been running their architectural practice[i].
[i] The News June 15, 2015

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer