Kings Weston, Bristol
Kingsweston House is one of Sir John Vanbrugh’s finest small houses, built for Sir Edward Southwell, Queen Anne’s Secretary of State for Ireland. Construction of the house started around 1710 and it is now Listed Grade I. The house was substantially altered by Robert Mylne for Edward Southwell III in 1763 and further alterations were carried out for Philip John Miles by Thomas Hopper from 1833. The house was mentioned in Jane Austen’s books Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.
The house has had numerous owners. Following the death of Dr Napier Miles in 1935 the house was sold to the Bristol Municipal Charities. It was then purchased to create a new Queen Elizabeth Hospital school in the grounds, but this work was curtailed by the start of World War II. The house and the grounds were requisitioned by the War Office and various armed forces units occupied the house and grounds. Following the war the Bristol Corporation requisitioned the buildings from QEH for use as a primary school but the house fell into a state of neglect until proposals to build a regional college for science and technology in the grounds. However, due to local opposition, the new university had to look elsewhere, finally deciding on Bath, but continuing to use the house as the department of architecture until 1970. The house was then acquired by the Bristol Watch Committee for use as a detective training centre with the house becoming the property of Avon and Somerset Police Committee. The police constructed their new headquarters in Portishead and vacated the house in 1995. The house suffered from vandalism until it was acquired by John Hardy in 2000. The house was used as an events venue with the first and second floors being let as serviced offices. Unfortunately John Hardy was declared bankrupt in 2011 and the lease passed into the hands of the receiver. We were instrumental in assisting Norman Routledge in purchasing the lease in 2013. Norman carried out extensive repairs and renovations to the building and we obtained planning permission and listed building consent for those works.
In 2020 Norman Routledge sold the lease to John Barbey who had been living in the Loggia. We have submitted applications for our client for planning permission and listed building consent for various improvements including an external platform lift to provide full access to the upper ground floor, relocation of the kitchen to provide a better facility, repairs to the path to the Echo, which is eroded and uneven and is actually outside John Barbey’s ownership, converting the empty caretaker’s flat into a shop attached to the existing café and provision of gates at the entrance lodge to provide security and prevent unauthorised access.