Kings Weston House
Kings Weston House has been described as one of Sir John Vanbrugh's finest compact houses. It was built
for Sir Edward Southwell, Secretary of State for Ireland under Queen Anne. Work began in about 1710 and
the house was completed in 1719. In 1763-8 the house was altered by Robert Mylne for Edward Southwell III.
The principal rooms were redecorated and improved and a two-storey kitchen wing was built at the rear.
Edward Southwell IV died without issue and in 1833 the house was sold to Philip John Miles. Miles was MP
for Bristol from 1835-1837 and also purchased Leigh Court Estate, where he built the present mansion. His
eldest son by his first marriage inherited Leigh Court, while the eldest son by his second wife inherited
Kings Weston. Philip William Skynner Miles financed the building of the railway and docks at Avonmouth.
His son, Philip Napier Miles, died without an heir in 1935. Kings Weston House was sold to Bristol Municipal
Charities for £9,800 to pay death duties. Miles' widow had a smaller house built in the grounds which is now
Kings Weston School. Bristol Municipal Charities intended to move Queen Elizabeth's Hospital school here
from Berkeley Place and redevelopment began, which included the demolition of Mylne's kitchen extension
in 1938. However the outbreak of the Second World War halted building work and the house was occupied
by the military. After the war the house was used as a school prior to the completion of the Lawrence Weston
estate, and was then owned by the Bristol College of Science and Technology. In 1970 Kings Weston was
purchased by the Home Office and became a Police Training Centre. When the police left for new premises
at Portishead in 1995 the house was abandoned and its future became uncertain. But in 2000 Kings Weston
was acquired for a business and conference centre and has a tea room which is open throughout the year.