This rather splendid fox represents the enormous historical significance of The Cleve to the town of Wellington.
The Cleve was designed and built in 1864 by Alfred Waterhouse, a distinguished Victorian architect famous for designing The Natural History Museum.
Alfred designed the building for the Fox family, who owned a large local woollen mill business in Wellington (which remains open today - they produce the most fabulous tweed fabrics). Those who are observant will notice that the original Cleve building is shaped in the letter F (for Fox).
Visitors to the Fox family described a happy and vibrant family life at The Cleve. Daily life at The Cleve is documented in various booklets and literature published in the late Victorian period, and all accounts paint a wonderful picture of joy, laughter and family festivities.
We believe that this happy atmosphere so early in the life of building has left an imprint that carries through to today. Many of our guests tell us how welcome they have felt and how The Cleve has felt like a home from home for them. For us, this is our goal achieved!
The Fox family also owned their own bank (Fox & Co) from 1787 until the early 20th Century. In fact, they printed their own bank notes until 1921, at the bank's Head Office at 27 Fore Street, Wellington. The building in Fore Street is still used as a bank today, although it is now owned by Lloyds Bank. The Lloyds Bank branch at 27 Fore Street is called the Fox Branch, in honour of its long and prestigious local history.
The Fox family also apparently introduced skis to the UK and they appear to have had some influence in their early design! A skiing Fox... an interesting thought!
So Basil the Fox has been busy for the last 150 years!
Look out for Basil around and about the hotel…