Red Room

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Red Room

This room was originally Merton’s bedroom. Merton and Annie had separate but interconnected bedrooms with single beds. This was a common practice amongst middle-class Victorian couples. The ceiling mural depicts the birth of the Roman goddess, Venus, and was intended to be viewed whilst lying in bed. Originally, a fretwork screen separated the room, creating a sitting area in the bay window, giving views across the Bay from Old Harry Rocks on the Isle of Purbeck to the Needles on the Isle of Wight. Usually, fires were essential for providing heating in a Victorian house, but East Cliff Hall had modern central heating, through vents in the floor. Nevertheless, all the main living rooms had fireplaces to provide extra warmth in the winter, and a focus for the room. All the rooms on the upper floor have secondary glazed windows to further warm the house in winter months. The bedrooms were extensively remodelled after the couple’s deaths, in preparation for opening the house as a museum. This included the removal of the screens and fireplaces. The wallpaper in the Red Room was created from an original section which was discovered behind a light switch. The wallpaper pattern is the same as in the Yellow Room. There are no photographs of the room as it used to look, so we have filled it with some of Merton’s favourite paintings and objects. Photographs of the Royal Bath Hotel show that the couple slept surrounded by their collection.

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