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Successful ongoing projects @ Fairfield House

In December, Fairfield House Bath CIC received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £9,980 for an exciting heritage project made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. The project has involved cataloging the book collection of Dr Richard Pankhurst donated to Fairfield House and training four Fairfield House volunteer librarians. It has also launched the Testimonies Project, collecting memories of HIM Haile Selassie I and family in Britain and has established a Fairfield House Museum panel, to advise and help guide the development of our Museum and Museum collections.

The library project team, Pauline Spence-McCalla, Chris Leigh, Ezra Tsegaye, Trinity Bruce and Jordan Cole, have been very busy with the great task of recording Dr Pankhurst’s collection. This comprises over 2000 items including books, pamphlets and magazines. They have also journeyed to the British library, the Black Cultural archives and the Stuart Hall library to meet with experts and learn how to professionally organise a study library. The Library project team will now be putting their new skills into practice with the other book collections we have, including the Dr Pankhurst collection and continue working on the vision to provide a Study Library for historical, valuable and rare literature around African and Caribbean history and culture. Situated in the Emperor’s advisor Blattengueta Heruy’s former study in Fairfield House, there will be a focus on Ethiopian History and the life of His Imperial Majesty.

The Fairfield House testimonies project team of 15 volunteers led by Ras Benji has been busy capturing memories of the Emperor and the Ethiopian Royal family in Britain, over 75 testimonies have been recorded so far, with memories from 1936 - 1973. We are confident more are on the way.

From the outreach so far, a folder of historic correspondence with the Ethiopian Royal family has been gifted to our museum. A radio series called ‘They Remember HIM’ has been launched on Imperial Voice Radio featuring interviews from the project. With new leads and connections emerging all the time, this will be an ongoing project at Fairfield House.

Also part of the " Securing the Emperor’s Legacy" project has been to appoint a museum panel to oversee the development of the Fairfield House Museum and collections. We are very lucky to have secured some top experts in their fields to be part of the panel including Dr Malcolm Richards, Terry Adams, Dr Panya Banjoko, Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Professor Patrick Vernon, Lemn Sissay, Professor Gus John, Eyob Derillo, Dr Aleema Gray, Dr Takele Merid, Tola Dabiri and Cheryl Bowen. Abigail Allan will continue to lead on the museum accreditation as our accreditation project lead.

We would like to extend our great appreciation to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for helping launch this exciting, ongoing progress at Fairfield House.



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