Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes were the founders of the Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth, one of the most beautiful Victorian art museums. Merton Russell-Cotes (1835-1921) was the son of an industrialist. He studied medicine, and then undertook various business ventures, none of them greatly successful, before rising high in the Scottish Amicable Life Insurance Society. Lady Annie Nelson Russell-Cotes (1835-1920) came from a wealthy family of cotton spinners. They were married in 1860, and moved to Bournemouth for health reasons. Merton Russell-Cotes became an active local politician, and was influential in the development of Bournemouth. His various positions included Mayor in 1894/5, and Justice of the Peace. The whole of the Russell-Cotes residence (East Cliff Hall) and contents were donated as a museum to the town of Bournemouth in 1908, and they paid for an extension to be added in 1919.
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Russell-Cotes Museum // Background Information