Bailbrook House Hotel
Location: Bath, Somerset
Bailbrook House is a Grade II listed property set within 20 acres of private grounds with commanding views towards central Bath and adjoining countryside. The property was originally built as a private residence in the early 1790s and has had a number of uses over the years.
The hotel has recently undergone an extensive £10 million refurbishment. The Mansion House has been reconfigured to create 13 prestigious feature bedrooms, many of which offer additional touches such as original fireplaces, roll-top baths and large bedroom spaces.
Bailbrook Court is adjacent to the Mansion House and offers 81 classic and executive bedrooms, all of which have been completely refurbished to a high contemporary standard.
Bailbrook House is now a member of the Hand Picked Hotels Group as a four star property.
For more information about the hotel please visit their web site
† These prices are based on two people sharing a standard double or twin bedroom
Originally built for a wealthy lawyer, Dr. Denham Skeet, Bailbrook House was designed by the well-known Bath architect John Eveleigh. Eveleigh was also responsible for a number of other landmarks in Bath, notably Camden Crescent, Grosvenor Place and buildings in Grove Street, just across Pulteney Bridge.
Work began in 1790 but due to interruptions and the uncertainties caused by the Napoleonic War, was not completed until early in the 19th Century at about the same time as Jane Austen took up residence in Bath.
By this time Dr. Skeet had sold the property to Valentine Jones, a merchant and official in the West Indies who became Public Secretary in Barbados and Commissary General for the British forces stationed in the Leeward Islands. When in Bath Jones entertained lavishly, including among his guests at Bailbrook Prime Minister William Pitt the younger. Sadly the temptations of his office proved too great and Valentine Jones was tried and imprisoned for his part in corrupt dealings relating to the misdirection of Treasury bills through an accomplice in Philadelphia and fraudulently supplying the British forces in the West Indies.
Bailbrook was taken by The Crown as reparation and sold in 1814 to Thomas Walters, ironically the head of the leading Batheaston family from whom Dr Skeet had originally bought the site in 1790.
The Walters family then let Bailbrook to Lady Isabella King, daughter of the Earl of Kingston. Lady Isabella was never married but instead devoted her time and energy to charitable and benevolent work, becoming associated with many prominent figures in the Evangelical Revival. As Patroness of a number of charities, her work was particularly targeted at street beggars, aiming to 'save the innocent and the unprotected from the dangers attendant on idleness and poverty.' Initiatives included a knitting school and a button-making school for children.
Whilst still in residence in 1815, she set about converting Bailbrook into a home for The Ladies Association - "A community for the ladies of gentle birth and their servants", the wealthier members effectively subsiding others on very modest incomes. Preference was given to the widows and daughters of clergymen and of naval and army officers. The community in their turn helped in the running of a school for orphaned girls, like the ladies "to be of gentle birth", which was established close by.
Other patrons of the association included three bishops, two duchesses, two marchionesses and Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III who paid a visit to the house in 1817 with her son the Duke of Clarence (later King William IV).
The Ladies Association eventually moved from Bailbrook and the house was adapted as a private nursing home, remaining in this use until well into the 20th century.
Eventually Bailbrook was purchased by the Post Office and converted into a training college with new buildings added in the 1970's and later. Passing on to RCA (the Communications Company) and then Serco, the college became dedicated to the training of air traffic control personnel. Sundial Group purchased Bailbrook in 2001 and refurbished this wonderful property. The hotel was then acquired by the prestigious Hand Picked Hotels group in June 2012 and entered an extensive programme of refurbishments in 2012-2013 which have restored the hotel to its former glory.