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Monday, June 20, 2016

Berrick Hall Yamate Yokohama


Berrick Hall in the Bluff/Yamate district of Yokohama is the former Spanish-style mansion of the British businessman B.R. Berrick (1878-1972). It was designed by the American architect J.H. Morgan (1868-1937) in 1930 and post-dates the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Berrick Hall is the largest pre-war foreign residence in Yamate.

Berrick Hall Yamate Yokohama, Japan.

J.H. Morgan first came to Japan in 1920 and is known for his steel-framed buildings, which were designed to survive the earthquakes to which Japan is prone. Morgan rebuilt the nearby Christ's Church, which had been destroyed by the tremors of 1923. Morgan was also responsible for the building of Yamate 111, as well as the grandstands of the Old Negishi Racetrack.

Morgan is buried in the Yokohama Foreigners' Cemetery, of which he designed the elegant entrance gate and gatehouse, where a small museum dedicated to the foreign influence in Yokohama is housed.

Morgan's wealthy client B.R. Berrick was born in London and first arrived in Yokohama in 1898 to join his family's successful import-export business. The Berricks exported Japanese lacquer, paper (washi) and silk as well as importing a variety of European goods in to Japan.

The first Berrick residence was destroyed in the 1923 Earthquake, hence the need for a new place to live. Interestingly, Berrick also served as the honorary consul of Finland during his time in Japan and the present Finnish Embassy in Tokyo occasionally holds events in the residence. Berrick and his family finally left Japan in 1938 when war with the West was seemingly imminent and relocated to Vancouver, Canada.

Berrick Hall Yamate Yokohama, Japan.

The interior of the mansion includes motifs and stylistic elements borrowed from Spain and the Islamic world as well as Japanese-style rooms and exquisite tile and iron work.

Post World War II, Berrick Hall was requisitioned by the occupying American armed forces. In 1956 Berrick donated his mansion to St. Joseph's International School and it was utilized as a dormitory by the school until 2000. The exotic design and lush gardens of Berrick Hall are now a popular venue for wedding ceremonies for both international and Japanese couples.

Berrick Hall Yamate Yokohama, Japan.

Berrick Hall
72, Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama, 231-0862
Tel: 045 663 5685

Admission: Free
Hours: 9.30am-5pm; July & August 9.30am-6pm; Closed: every 2nd Wednesday of the month (open if a national holiday), also closed over the New Year holidays.
Access: The nearest stations are Motomachi-Chukagai Station on the Minatomirai Line and Ishikawacho Station on the JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line.

Other attractions in the Yamate/Bluff area of Yokohama include Christ Church, the Yokohama Foreigners' Cemetery, the British House Yokohama, the Museum of Tin Toys and the Yamate Museum of Tennis. The Ehrismann Mansion is also close to Berrick Hall.

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