The Emperor’s English Bath House & its Haunted Rumour
——– — On this date on November 9, 1937, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported a story that Ethiopian Emperor-in-exile Haile Selassie wanted to sell his home-in-exile, located in the suburbs of the English town of Bath. If these facts were correct, the Emperor certainly didn’t fi…
nd a buyer. Known as the Fairfield House in the Bath suburb of Newbridge, the news report cited “He [Selassie] finds that it costs him to much to keep it up.” Described as a fourteen-room Georgian-manor, the house was built during the mid nineteenth century and would serve as the Emperor’s official residence during his period of exile between 1936-41. According to “Haile Selassie’s War” by Anthony Mockler, the residence became the home to his family, particularly his three oldest children. The town of Bath, located in southwest England in Somerset is popularly known for its natural hot springs. One of the more curious, if not tragic, tidbits about the Bath house was that of Ethiopian author and historian Heruy Walda Selassie(1878-1938). An advisor to the Emperor, Heruy took residence at the home where he died there on September 29, 1938. According to “The Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia”, there were “unsubstantiated rumours that he had committed suicide after the Emperor had discovered that he had carried on a secret correspondence with the Italians”. Heruy was credited for writing 28 books on Ethiopia. According to Afro-American weekly Jet Magazine, following his return to Ethiopia the Emperor donated the house to the city of Bath in 1958 as a residence for the aged. The housed continued as an old age home until 1993 when it was renovated to serve as a community center. It is regarded as a tourist destination and a point of pilgrimage among fans of the Emperor, including members of the Rastafari movement. The late Emperor returned to the town on a state visit in 1954 where he received the highly honorary “Freedom of the City” recognition.
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