The two small square windows on the right of the building were the apartments of emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia who lived in England and visited Dunham Hall after Ethiopia was invaded by italian fascists in WW II.
The Earl, the Emperor and Dunham Massey.. . . Telling the story
This summer an exciting community project remembered the friendship between Emperor Haile Selassie and Dunham Massey’s Roger Grey.
In 1936 Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia gave a speech to the League of Nations voicing concerns about the rise of fascism worldwide as Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, but his warnings were ignored. Shortly afterwards Haile Selassie was exiled in Bath, to escape from the war affecting his country. During this time he received a letter…
Roger Grey, Dunham’s 10th Earl, was moved by Selassie’s speech. He wrote to the Emperor to invite him to stay at his home, and in June 1938 the Emperor visited for four days, and the visit began a lifelong friendship between the two men. Roger flew the Ethiopian flag from the roof of his home when the Emperor visited, and each year on Selassie’s birthday.
On 23 July 2012 the tradition of flying the Ethiopian flag was reintroduced at Dunham Massey for the first time in over 30 years. The event that marked the celebration brought together several communities from Greater Manchester.
Inspired by Roger’s example of extending the hand of friendship across cultures this project involved people whose heritage links to the story, including members of Manchester’s Rasta community and Ethiopian families from Salford.
Through early summer local young people volunteered weekly from Moss Side. Working alongside Brighter Sound’s drama and music leaders they created a performance that told the story.
The event on the 23 July 2012 was very special. Our young volunteers told the story through drama and music, and Ethiopian-born poet Lemn Sissay brought energetic poetry to Dunham’s Inner Courtyard. Beating Wing Orchestra, a group of refugees, asylum seekers and local musicians played music in the Garden, and a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony was held by our Ethiopian volunteers on the front lawn.