Dining Room

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Dining Room

The perfect place for entertaining guests, East Cliff Hall’s Dining Room was a fashionable room with all the Victorian mod-cons such as central heating and electric lighting. This room reveals much about late Victorian taste and style, as seen in the wallpaper, ceiling motifs, decorative fixtures and the large-scale entertaining space. Living next door to their own hotel, the Royal Bath Hotel, had many advantages. Hotel staff would cook, clean and care for Annie, Merton and their guests on a rota basis. Food was brought over and would be prepared in the kitchen and scullery – where our café kitchen is today. When the next course was required, it could be requested by the head of the table with the touch of a button via a discreet floor-mounted bell push. The corridor, where you entered, was once part of the butler’s pantry area. Annie and Merton would use this room to entertain family and friends, but for larger functions they would use the dining facilities at the Royal Bath Hotel. Merton additionally used this room as a study and had a writing desk underneath the stained-glass windows of the four patron saints. Here he would sit as he dictated letters to his secretary Miss Louisa Sherrard (1866-1948), who had a bedroom upstairs, in what is now known as the Print Room. Setting the atmosphere with dark red wallpaper and mahogany furnishings, typical of the popular Scottish Baronial style, the room is framed by an impressive Japanese style gilded peacock and pomegranate mural. It was painted by John Thomas (c.1826-c.1900), who had also decorated the Royal Bath Hotel. The ceiling is a replacement installed when the original collapsed in the 1930s and is made of pressed tin, similar to the original. The dark red décor was traditionally used in dining rooms to show meat on the plate at its best, a tradition dating back to the 16th century. The stained-glass windows reveal the patriotism and imperialism of the Russell-Cotes; four of the panes depict the patron saints of the four kingdoms of the British Isles, and others represent the former British Empire colonies: Malta, Egypt, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Australia, Gibraltar and the southern part of South Africa (Cape Colony).

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