Old Secretariat served as the Government secretariat with office for the colonial secretary and a large number of ministers. Conceptualization of the Old secretariat building, designed and built by the public work department (PWD) of the colonial government, was precipitated by the 1906 declaration of Lagos as the seat of Southern Nigeria. It was built in form of an E (said to be after the initial of the governor of the day Sir W Egerton).
The Old secretariat located at 14 Marina Street in Lagos has corridors on either side of a single role of office, which allows passage even with driving rain, but creates the problem of lack of privacy. As bricks were the other of the day, the large rooms with big windows help to keep the room cool. One of the most noticeable external features of this house – and one of the most pleasant – is the continuous encircling band of upper floor windows, timber posts and slender cast-iron supporting columns. The building has two magnificent towers at the Marina end. The environment around this building was for a long time an eyesore because of its conversion to parking for breakdown government vehicles.