We are so often asked about the history of Berwick Lodge that we want to share with you what we know so far..
Whilst we have snippets of information from various sources, there is still so much more we’d like to know, so if you know anything about Berwick Lodge that we don’t, please do get in touch.
Berwick Lodge was built in 1890, towards the end of the reign of Queen Victoria, as a lavish dowry by General and Mrs Sampson Way for their daughter Rowena as a wedding present!
General Sampson Way was appointed as an Honorary Major General in the Royal Marines in November 1855. He later married Mary Anne Louisa Prior in 1871 and had two children, Nowell Fitz Edward Greville Sampson Way (pictured left in later years) in 1872 and Rowena Fanny Farington Sampson Way in 1873. He was later awarded the Order of the Bath, the fourth most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, in 1855. General Sampson Way’s second marriage was to Lucy Emily Matthews in June 1903, they had both been sadly widowed.
General Sampson Way was a local philanthropist – for example in September 1914 he visited Henbury School and gave out wool for the girls to make knitted belts and socks for the soldiers of the First World War. He finally died in 1926 – his gravestone lies in Henbury, Bristol.
Early – mid 1900s
The following owner was George Leonard Matthews. It’s unclear during which period he resided at Berwick Lodge but we do know he lived here with his family. We also know that George’s daughter Violet Chetwood Aiken and her husband John Chetwood Aiken lived happily in Berwick Lodge, from 1958.
Image to left: hand drawn map of Berwick Lodge and surrounding area in 1915
1970s and 1980s
St Christopher’s owned Berwick Lodge in the 1970s as a school for children with severe and complex learning difficulties. They relocated to Westbury Park and the derelict house was vandalised and set on fire.
The following owners were the NHS Brentry Hospital who used Berwick as a psychiatric hospital.
Freeways Trust owned the building from 1982 until the current owners, Sarah and Fevzi, bought it. Freeways provided a home and working environment for adults with learning difficulties. Within the grounds during this time, the residents had access to a pottery and craft room, a wood workshop and a laundry (as pictured left). The grounds produced fruit and vegetables which the residents would harvest for the community or to sell for income generation.
On Valentine’s Day 2003, Fevzi Arikan saw Berwick Lodge for sale in the Bristol Evening Post (as it was back then) and instantly fell in love with it. He and his wife Sarah made an offer on the building, alongside a number of other keen buyers and were delighted to be selected as the successful buyers. The owner of Freeways Trust was very keen for the building to be restored to its former glory, rather than it being turned into more flats or other housing development.
After 5 years of total regeneration by Fevzi, restoring as many original features as possible and adding a Turkish twist to the décor style, Berwick Lodge re-opened its doors on 9th September 2009.
There are remnants of original features to this day, such as the former Victorian mews and stables, now the conference centre. In the gardens, remnants of original features include the Victorian summer house (dated around 1890), an old water garden in the woodland, orchard, formal sunken rose garden and yew topiary.
If you know anything at all about the history of Berwick Lodge please do let us know. We’d love to be able to piece it all together!