At the peak of its activity, the Ghana Railway Corporation (GRC) counted 11,000 employees. The archives held in Takoradi create a snapshot of the labour history of Ghana. Heavily consulted by researchers and students alike since the 1970s, the archive is in urgent need of digitisation.
The Ghana Railway Corporation (GRC) started in 1901 as a department of the Gold Coast Civil Service. Its headquarters was located at Sekondi where construction of Ghana’s railways began in 1898, however, it was moved to Takoradi in 1934, under the Railway and Harbours Administration. The documents contain all information regarding labour and personnel, and create a detailed overview of the lives of Ghanaian, West African and European workers.
The archive has been heavily consulted from the 1970s, which caused the deterioration of many documents. Around 20% of the folders in the archive have been destroyed, and another 10% has been affected by moisture.
The project aimed to survey, catalogue and digitise part of the material, while training staff in digitisation. The project gained the trust and support of the Railway management, which allowed the smooth running of the project and ensured the feasibility of a future collaboration. Part of the material was digitised by the trained staff, starting from the oldest and most fragile documents. A survey of the material was created and a room with proper storage conditions was selected to become the future location of the archive.