Mansion once home to British politician converted into a house-share

A mansion once the luxury abode of a British politician has been re-purposed into a communal living space.

Kings Weston House in Bristol was completed in 1719 for Sir Edward Southwell, Secretary of State for Ireland.

It was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect behind Blenheim Palace.

The property, which has 12 bedrooms, is now home to 19 residents and functions as a house-share.

Owner Norman Routledge purchased Kings Weston House for £350,000 in 2012.

“It was a fight, two or three times I gave up,” he told an episode of BBC Inside Out West.

“No banks would lend me any money and it was only the guys here who said ‘go on, you’ve got this far, keep going’.”

Mr Routledge has always owned and lived in house-shares but wanted something to suit him and his friends as they began to have less families and more children.

“It’s the ultimate never-grow-old house,” he said.

“You hear so many people living on their own are lonely, here that’s not going to happen.

“When we took it on we had never thought about the size of the project and it could have been cold and scary and like a National Trust place, but it’s not turned out that way.

“The house wants to have a party and it likes a bit of love, and it has suited us down to the ground.”

In total, 19 people, including three children, live in the Grade I listed building.

They pay from £500 per month, with extra funds raised by renting the bottom floor out for wedding, parties and film crews.

The house has sprawling grounds, a living room with ceiling topping 10 metres high and regal oil paintings of former owners.

Karoline and Neil Davidson live in the property with their son Kaelan, five.

Mr Davidson said: “Ever since I’ve known him [Mr Routledge], he has talked about buying a castle that all of his friends can live in.

“This place came on the market so he could live his dream.”

BBC Inside Out West will air at 7.30pm on Monday on BBC One West and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.

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