The Anglo-Ethiopian Society
Study Visit - Fairfield House, Bath
Saturday 15th November 2014
1:00pm to 4:00pm, Fairfield House, 2 Kelston Road, Bath, BA1 3QJ (all welcome but places limited)
The Friends of Fairfield House (www.houseofhismajesty.com) have organised a special visit to the house for The Anglo-Ethiopian Society on Saturday 15 November. The House contains a small exhibition about The Emperor and His time in Bath and about the House itself. During November there is also a chance to see the UK contribution to the international exhibition 'Rastafari - The Majesty & The Movement' that was shown at the National Museum in Addis Ababa earlier this year. The event is free but a small donation towards the upkeep of the house would be appreciated.
Fairfield House is an English Heritage Grade II listed building built between 1840-50 in the city of Bath, England. The property was the home of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, during the five years he spent in exile (1936-41) from the invasion of Mussolini's troops into his homeland.
From Fairfield House the Emperor planned the strategic battle to defeat Mussolini, wrote correspondence to world leaders, visited many events to lobby support, addressed the League of Nations with an historic speech, and successfully gathered the support of the British government who helped the Ethiopian army at the final push to defeat the Italian troops, on the eve of World War 2 becoming a closer reality.
Haile Selassie was fond of the house and the city of Bath, and writes about it in his autobiography. He lived there with his wife Empress Menen, his children, priests, political advisors and house staff. On returning to Ethiopia the Emperor named one of his properties Fairfield, in remembrance of his home in Bath. In his autobiography the Emperor writes, "The view through its front windows always reminded us of the hills in Harar".
In 1954 the Emperor returned to Bath and was honoured with the Freedom of the City, which is a rare reward bestowed upon valued persons who have been held in high regard by the city's leaders and citizens.
Following his return to Ethiopia the Emperor bequeathed the house to the city to be used by the elderly as a care/support home, though it was first used as the 'Fairfield Home for Babies' between 1943-46. The residents were evacuated there from Chippenham during World War 2. In 1944 the house accommodated 35 children between the ages of two weeks and two years. In 1946 after the war had ended, the Home for Babies moved to Saville House Nursery, Bath. Since then the house has been used by aged citizens of the city and it remains so to this day as the home of Bath Senior Citizens Association (BEMSCA).