East Cliff Hall
View 360-degree tours of the rooms in East Cliff Hall
"For many years I had it in mind that some day I would build a house after my own heart, as an offering of “love and affection” to my wife."
- Merton Russell-Cotes writing in his autobiography Home and Abroad
East Cliff Hall was the home of Sir Merton Russell-Cotes (1835-1921) and Lady Russell-Cotes (1835-1920). The building of East Cliff Hall was begun in 1897 and was completed in its first form in 1901.
The house was designed by the architect John Frederick Fogerty, who moved to Bournemouth in the late 1880’s. Nevertheless there can be no doubt that there was a great deal of input from the Russell-Cotes.
“After considering several designs” Sir Merton wrote, “I had made up my mind to construct it architecturally to combine the Renaissance with Italian and old Scottish baronial styles.”
On the 15th July 1901 Sir Merton presented East Cliff Hall to his wife as a gift on her birthday. This date is significant as it was the year that Queen Victoria died and makes it one of the last Victorian buildings ever built.
Like many wealthy Victorians, Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes travelled the world visiting many countries including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, America and Hawaii and used the house as a showcase for their growing collections.
Many of the individual rooms were devoted to the places they visited such as the Mikado’s Room based on their visit to Japan.
In 1907 Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes announced that they were giving their home together with their collections of art and beautiful objects to the people of Bournemouth.
The Russell-Cotes continued to live in the house, which was officially opened in 1909 with public admission on the first Wednesday of the month, up until their deaths in 1920 and 1921 respectively.
Please use the menu on the left to find out more about the rooms at East Cliff Hall.