The Anglo-Ethiopian Society
Event - Ethiopia Day at Fairfield House
Saturday 15th October 2016
12:00am to 6:00pm, Fairfield House, 2 Kelston Road, Bath, BA1 3QJ - Entry £15
The Friends of Fairfield House (www.houseofhismajesty.com) are holding an 'Ethiopian History Day' to raise funds for the upkeep of Fairfield House and for the restoration of the headstone of His Excellency Blaten Geta Hiruy Wolde-Selassie who died in the UK in 1938.
Doors open at 12:00am. The entry price includes an Ethiopian lunch and one soft drink. Also available for purchase will be Tej (traditional honey wine) and a full Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
Lunch will be followed by a series of talks on various aspects of Ethiopian History, including Haile Selassie's links to Bath.
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 II 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).
The Friends of Fairfield House want the House to become a community hub for local groups and charities working with older people across Bath. Improving facilities within the House will ensure that all these groups have the space and resources they need to improve the quality of life of older people in the City, a fitting tribute to the spirit and aspiration of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I.