BAA @ CORSHAM circa 1960

While doing some family history research my attention was drawn to the fact that there was a brief family connection with Corsham Court way back in 1878.

My maternal grandmother Ada Elizabeth Fennymore, then aged 18 was ladies maid to Evelyn, daughter of Sir Fredrick Hervey-Bathurst of Clarendon Park. In 1878, Evelyn married Field Marshal Paul Sanford Methuen Bt. and Ada followed her mistress to Corsham. It is however sad to relate that Lord Paul's new wife died within the year and so the brief connection came to an end.

Eighty two years and two World Wars later, the world had changed beyond recognition.

Many of the great houses and estates found it necessary to support themselves in a different manner after the war (the Court had been used as a convalescent hospital during the war) and in common with other estate owners, Lord Methuen was considering his options for Corsham Court. As luck would have it, Clifford Ellis was at the same time looking for a new home for the old Bath School of Art which had been burnt down during the bombing of Bath in 1942.

Already well acquainted, Clifford Ellis and Lord Paul (they had a mutual friend and mentor in Walter Sickert) were sympathetic to each other's needs and interests, they further gained the support of local education authorities, Bath Corporation and the University of Bristol and were given the go ahead to establish the Academy at Corsham in 1946 and were graciously granted a ninety nine year lease by Lord Methuen.
This would assure the maintenance of the house, its valuable art collection and wonderful gardens for some time to come.

The ninety nine year lease granted by the trustees of Corsham Estates was due to run out in the year 2045 however owing to local government and other politics, the Academy lost its name and concept. The art college returned to Bath in 1986 as part of the Bath College of Higher Education. The Bath Academy of Art (Corsham) is gone and only lives on in the minds of those who played some part of its existence and the rich cultural experience of art and philosophy conceived there.


Clifford Ellis retired in 1972