The exquisite main hall with its plush staircase encapsulates the grandeur of the late-Victorian era.
Originally the Main Hall was divided into two sections; a hall and a gallery. The original inglenook fireplace now serves as an entrance to the Galleries, which were added on from 1916. The ceiling is decorated with Japanese mon (family crests) and the pillars are made of scagliola (plaster imitating marble). The coving is decorated with birds and plants. In the floor is an ornamental pond, believed to have been inspired by Merton and Annie’s trip to Japan in 1885. Motifs of the heavens can be spotted throughout East Cliff Hall.
The glass dome above the Main Hall’s staircase depicts a wonderful extravaganza of the night sky, with bats, owls, stars and comets. The frieze around the top of the staircase is a gilded plaster rendition of the Parthenon Frieze from the Athenian Acropolis, also known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’. It was designed by William Scott Morton, in 1893, for the Tynecastle Company.