top of page
Fairfield_28Aug_046 sml.jpg

H.I.M HAILE SELASSIE I
MUSEUM

FAIRFIELD HOUSE MUSEUM.

We have an exciting museum in development at Fairfield House relating to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, his time in Britain and Ethiopia. We are working with our first partner Bath Spa University to ensure Fairfield House museum will be adhering to professional museum standards and hope for it to be a fitting tribute outside of Ethiopia to the remarkable story of the Emperor and his time in the UK.

 

The museum will provide a fantastic opportunity for local, national and international visitors to Fairfield House to immerse themselves in an educational experience relating not only to those difficult days of exile for the Ethiopian royal family and government in exile, but also to the days of triumphant return as the Emperor returned a celebrated visitor to Britain in 1954 and again took rest at Fairfield. A majestic, unique and enriching narrative in the already historic City of Bath. 

The aim of the Museum collection is “to gather, conserve and present items that belonged to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I during his time in Bath, which explain his historical, international significance and personal dimensions and which enhance the special sense of place by being objects which bring to life Fairfield House".

 

Over the years, many historic items have been bequeathed or loaned to Fairfield House for this purpose and action is now underway to ensure these are properly presented, registered and further cared for so they will be available to inspire and educate many generations to come. 

If visiting Fairfield House on one of our public open days, we currently have a growing collection of items on display in the museum area, including a portrait the Emperor posed for painted during exile ( pictured above), Medals and Orders of H.I.M, Ethiopian traditional artwork depicting the blessed union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and more intriguing items already on display.

Offer Items to the Fairfield House Museum Collection

 

Do you have an object or item you believe may be appropriate to our collection?
 

Thank you for thinking of us.

 

Donated objects are recorded, preserved, cared for, and restored to the highest standards. However, this comes at a high cost, both financially and in labour. Additionally, our Museum Room is a relatively small space, with very limited storage: items we accept must be suitable for display as we do not intend to store any more items. This forces us to be selective about what we can accept into our keeping. We are not able to accept everything we are offered.

 

Any new donations accepted into our care must represent a meaningful addition to the collection, filling identified gaps in our collection and providing insights into the life of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie, his family, and his retinue while in Bath, or illuminating how he came to be here or what he did in the UK after.

 

The items we are most interested in collecting are as followed:

 

  • Any correspondence, including letters, Christmas cards, postcards, cards, and envelopes, sent or received by Haile Selassie in Bath,

  • Itineraries used by or relating to Haile Selassie, his family, and retinue whilst in Bath,

  • Any items sold by Haile Selassie and his family from Fairfield House for financial gain whilst in Bath – this would include items of Imperial silver, as long as we could prove that they were used by the family whilst in Bath and later sold in Bath,

  • Personal items used by the household in Bath, such as stationary, briefcases, items of clothing,

  • The bike used by the household in Bath,

  • His Majesty’s stamp book – while here HIM Haile Selassie reportedly kept the stamps from the letters he received from all over the world and gave them to a young local boy who collected stamps,

  • Items given by Haile Selassie and his family as gifts to locals in Bath and the UK, such as the letter opener and teaspoon we already hold,

  • The Emperor’s bed and bedroom furniture (sold at auction in the 1940s),

  • The Emperor’s bible stand, made by Stothert & Pitt, a Bath-based engineering company,

  • Items currently held in storage by Bath & North East Somerset Council which were used at Fairfield House, such as the dining table,

  • Any items bought from Fairfield House during the auction sale in the 1940s,

  • Items used by the servants in Bath,

  • Records (oral or written) of the servants’ time here,

  • Eyewitness accounts from people who knew Haile Selassie in Bath, such as diary and journal entries,

  • Items which relate to the time the imperial family and other Retinue (refugees), such as the priest and noble historic figures, spent at Fairfield House. These figures may include Blatten-Geta Heruy Welde Sellassie, the Emperor’s personal physician, and political heroes, such as Leronzo Taezaz,

  • Original copies of the Ethiopia Times and New Times,

  • Original copies of articles from the Bath Chronicle which refer to Haile Selassie in Bath or coming to Bath,

  • Eyewitness accounts from people who knew Haile Selassie in Bath, such as diary and journal entries.

 

Other items we are interested in are:

  • Original photographs of:

    • Haile Selassie in Bath, particularly at Fairfield

    • The interior of Fairfield House

    • Haile Selassie visiting London and Bath (1954) and the Caribbean (1966) 

  • Figurines of Italian Soldiers fighting at the Battle of Adwa (1896); during the Italian invasion; and relating directly to Haile Selassie. 

 

Items we categorically do not collect are:

 

  • Figurines other than those mentioned above, unless they are particularly unusual or rare,

  • Maps, unless depicting battle lines and the like during the Italian invasion,

  • Children’s school textbooks or workbooks relating to Ethiopian history – with the exception of books from Bath children from or shortly after the exile period, which detail them learning about Haile Selassie, or school textbooks or workbooks belonging to members of the Imperial family while they were in the UK,

  • Resources and books detailing how to learn Amharic – for these objects, please contact the Fairfield House Library,

  • Items related to Ethiopian art, architecture, and history more generally, including books – for this, please contact the Fairfield House Library.

  • Photocopies of newspaper cuttings where the original is already in our possession,

  • We do not collect books and magazines unless they have intrinsic value as historical objects, such as copies of The Ethiopia Observer – we are interested in the item itself and how it relates to Haile Selassie and his time in Bath, rather than its content. For example, we do not collect books detailing Ethiopian history. For this, please contact the Fairfield House Library,

  • Contemporary art items relating to Haile Selassie and his family – for these objects, please contact the Fairfield House Tafari Art Gallery,

  • General Ethiopian cultural artefacts and art,

  • Archaeological material,

  • Geological material,

  • Biological material,

  • Human remains, including hair,

  • Parts of endangered animals, including ivory and hair,

  • Items which rightfully belong in Ethiopia, such as:

    • Items belonging to the Royal family of Ethiopia, such as Imperial silver not used during the family’s time in Bath. 

    • Items relating to Haile Selassie and his family’s time in Ethiopia rather than in Bath.

  • Items of major religious significance, such as:

    • Tabots

    • Sacred or historic manuscripts.

 

For more details on how and what we acquire, you can read our full Collections Development Policy, including our Acquisitions Policy and Disposals Policy.

You may also like to see our social media, where we may have detailed recently acquired objects. 

 

Additionally, if you have a story about HIM Haile Selassie and his household’s time in Bath, please contact our Testimonies Project: info@houseofhismajesty.com.

If you wish to make an offer of material, we ask you to use the online donation form here  

 

If you are unable to use the form, you can write to us by letter. Material will not be accepted by post unless we have already explicitly accepted this item into the collection. Our postal address is:

 

Fairfield House 

2 Kelston Road, 

Bath, 

BA1 3QJ,

United Kingdom

 

Please include the following information in your letter:

 

  • Your full name and address

  • Your correspondence address (whether physical or email)

  • Are you responsible for the donation or are you acting on someone’s behalf? If so, who?

  • A brief description of the item you are offering

  • Does it fit into one of the categories described above? If so, which category?

  • Do you / the person you are donating on behalf of have full legal ownership of the item?

  • Do you know the provenance of the object (i.e. where it came from)? Please detail its provenance here briefly

 

Upon receiving your offer, we will be in touch in due course to express our gratitude. There may be a delay between this and our formal acceptance or declination.

ornemp.jpg

DONATE

Help Preserve the Legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie I at Fairfield House.

bottom of page