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Fairfield House Bath CIC awarded grant by the National Lottery Heritage fund

6th December 2022






Securing the Emperor’s Legacy


Fairfield House Bath community interest company is awarded a £9,980 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to protect parts of Emperor Haile Selassie's legacy in Bath


Today, Fairfield House Bath CIC has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £9,980 for an exciting heritage project called Securing the Emperor’s Legacy in Bath. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will protect books and museum objects and capture memories and stories relating to His Imperial Majesty and family during their time in Britain. The project will run from now until mid March 2023.


Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will skill up three trainee librarians from Fairfield’s communities of interest to professionally catalogue a recent gift of books from the estate of Dr. Richard Pankhurst, notable expert on Ethiopian history and son of Sylvia Pankhurst, famous suffragette and friend of Emperor Haile Selassie. The vision is to provide a Study Library for historical, valuable and rare literature around African and Caribbean history and culture. Situated in the Emperor’s Advisor’s former study in Fairfield House, there will be a focus on Ethiopian History and the life of His Imperial Majesty.

It will also gather oral testimonies from those who remember the Emperor and Ethiopian Royal family in Britain before it’s too late and disseminate via Fairfield House’s in-house radio station ImperialVoice.com


Those who remember the Emperor’s time in Britain, particularly the exile years and return visit in 1954, (ie born 1920-50) are now in old age. Fairfield House regularly gets visitors with memories to share and intends to reach out via national and social media and by contacting care homes and organisations for the elderly. 10 volunteers will be trained to ask the right questions, and listen and write up testimonies.


Lastly it will set up a Museum Advisory Panel for the Museum at Fairfield House in order to manage sensitive curatorial issues. This will use our collections policy to decide which objects to acquire, accept on loan, turn down, which items better belong in Ethiopia, whether to accept ivory items or weapons, how to interpret different religious beliefs about the Emperor, what to say about war history, among other complex issues. We aim to attract five of the highest quality museum professionals or scholars.


Fairfield House Bath CIC works to protect the legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie I in Bath through the interest and dedication of its communities of interest, the local people of Bath (in whose interest the Emperor gifted the house in return for the warm welcome he received), Ethiopians, Rastafari and people of African descent.


Commenting on the award, Ras Benji, project lead for recording these memories of the Emperor’s time in Britain said:


“We are very thankful to have received this support from the National Lottery Heritage fund and welcome anyone with memories or stories that their parents and friends told about the Ethiopian Royal family’s time in Britain to get in touch with us on 01225 464165 or email via info@houseofhismajesty.com.”


About Fairfield House Bath CIC


Fairfield House Bath CIC is a not for profit Community Interest Company, set up to preserve and celebrate Emperor Haile Selassie's unique legacy: a personal gift to the city of his home, Fairfield House, in appreciation of the warm welcome and hospitality he had received from the people of Bath.


For the latest news about Fairfield House Follow @houseofhismajesty on Instagram, visit our Facebook page, Twitter

or to find out more about what happens at Fairfield House or to arrange a visit please visit our website www.fairfieldhousebath.co.uk


About The National Lottery Heritage Fund


Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.


Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.


Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Ras Benji at Fairfield House Bath CIC on 01225 464165 and fairfieldhousebath1@gmail.com.


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