Blue plaques for Emperor Haile Selassie unveiled in Somerset

25 Sep 2019

Two blue plaques in honour of Emperor Haile Selassie’s life in Bath and visits to Weston-Super-Mare were unveiled on 22nd September by the Emperor’s grandson, Prince Michael Mekonnen. Other dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Bath, Councillor Gerry Curran, were also in attendance.

Prince Mekonnen with the Lord Mayor of Bath, Councillor Gerry Curran ©Rob Mitchell

The plaques were unveiled on the Tropicana building in Weston-Super-Mare and at Fairfield House in Bath.

During the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the Emperor and his family lived in exile in Fairfield House in Bath from 1936 to 1940.

 Haile Selassie with the Mayor of Bath in October 1954

During his time living in Bath Emperor Haile Selassie received a warm welcome from local residents, and this generosity was reciprocated when he gave Fairfield House to the city as a gift to be used for elders of the city.

The gift of the Emperor is still alive today, with Fairfield used as a day-care centre by Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association (BEMSCA).

Fairfield House, Bath
Blue plaque placed at Fairfield House. ©Rob Mitchell

The Emperor also regularly visited Weston-Super- Mare, where he enjoyed swimming in the open-air pool. Although invited to, he never jumped the queue and would happily chat with other visitors. It was rumoured that he was even contemplating buying a house in Weston.

Blue plaque at the Tropicana pools below. ©Rob Mitchell

Malcolm Nicholson, Weston-Super-Mare Town Clerk, said: “We are honoured to have this association of our town with the royal family of Ethiopia, and grateful to Dr Sobers and the trustees of Fairfield House for linking up with Weston Town Council to recall this important time in history.”

Dr Shawn Sobers, Trustee of Fairfield House CIC, said, “This is a significant day for both Bath and Weston-Super-Mare, and a long overdue acknowledgement that an important world leader made the West Country his home.  We are looking to continue this partnership with Weston, and other sites in the UK that the Emperor had connections with.”

The plaque at Fairfield House has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in partnership with the University of the West of England.

Latest News

Browse all
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is deeply honoured and humbled by the recognition of the Nobel Committee. The Prize will give a significant boost to the Prime Minister’s deep commitment to the twin goals of peace and development in Ethiopia and the entire continent.
10 Dec 2019
Statement from the Prime Minister’s Office following the awarding of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Lecture given by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2019, H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in Oslo on 10 December 2019. Prime Minister Abiy is the first Ethiopian to be awarded a Nobel Prize. This year’s prize is also the 100th Nobel Peace Prize.
10 Dec 2019
“Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa” – PM Abiy’s Nobel Lecture
FINTEX 2020, an international furniture, interior and finishing expo, will be held from 5 – 7 March 2020 at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa, with the support of several Ministries in Ethiopia, local and international councils and trade associations.
2 Dec 2019
International Furniture and Interior Expo, FINTEX 2020, to be held in Addis
On 20th November, Sidama residents gathered peacefully to vote on whether there should be a new Sidama Regional State, within Ethiopia's federal system, or whether Sidama should remain as part of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). They voted overwhelmingly – over 98% - in favour of change, so Sidama has officially become Ethiopia’s 10th regional state.
29 Nov 2019
Peaceful Referendum in Sidama, a sign of things to come in 2020!
According to the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, Ethiopia will launch its first-ever satellite into space on 17th December. The satellite will provide data on changes in climate and weather-related phenomena that will be used for agriculture, forestry and natural resource conservation activities.
26 Nov 2019
Ethiopia to launch first satellite in December
18-year old Berihu Aregawi and 20-year old Yalemzerf Yehualaw were the men’s and women’s winners at the 2019 Great Ethiopian Run – Africa’s biggest road race - staged in Addis Ababa on 17th November. Around 450 foreign runners took part this year, one of the highest numbers of overseas participants for the race.
20 Nov 2019
Aregawi and Yehualaw crowned champions at the 2019 Great Ethiopian Run
The Honourable Ms Meaza Ashenafi, the President of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia, led a delegation of senior Ethiopian judges on a first working visit to the United Kingdom in mid-November. The Chief Justice and her Delegation were visiting the United Kingdom for a series of meetings and consultations with the country’s senior judiciary and justice-sector institutions as part…
19 Nov 2019
Ethiopia’s Chief Justice on UK working visit
Tourism Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Embassy, Ethiopian Airlines and 20 of the country’s best tour operators, represented Ethiopia at the 40th World Travel Market in London. The event was an important opportunity to showcase Ethiopia’s tourism potential, maintain key industry relationships and build new ones.
15 Nov 2019
Ethiopia celebrated at World Travel Market
In their latest list of best places to travel in 2020, travel publisher and tailor-made trip provider, Rough Guides, has placed Ethiopia among the ‘4 Best Countries to Visit.’
13 Nov 2019
Ethiopia among Rough Guides Best Countries to Visit in 2020
Ethiopia has consistently championed the right of all countries on the Nile to equitably and reasonably utilise its waters. Ethiopia has remained an unflinching advocate for greater cooperation, negotiation and compromise on the Nile, in particular - a hallmark of our approach to all international challenges.
1 Nov 2019
Editorial: Technical Talks on GERD must and will succeed