Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

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A Brief History of Zetland Court

Zetland Court is one of the seventeen RMBI care homes in the UK . It is situated in its own grounds, a short walk from the beach in a peaceful area of Westbourne, near Bournemouth. The main part of the building is grade 2 listed and was converted to a care home by the RMBI in the early 1980s.

Zetland Court was built in 1860 on a parcel of land from the Alum Cliff Estate by a Mr Charles A King and was originally known as Branksome Dene. Twenty years later it became the Seaside Villa of Lord and Lady Wimborne of Canford, who considerably extended the building and then sold it on to Sir Ernest Cassel, a publisher and banker. Sir Ernest left the estate to his granddaughter, Edwina in 1922 who later married and became Lady Edwina Mountbatten. After her ownership many others followed and over the years it has been a vegetarian hotel and a home for elderly Jews before falling derelict in the 1970s.

Following a search for a suitable property in the South, a survey of the site by architects from the RMBI was carried out in 1978 and they concluded that it was suitable for their needs subject to certain alterations. Dorset Freemasons raised £267,392 to purchase the site and a stone laying ceremony took place on 22nd May 1980 by the Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, RWBro Montague John Scott Williams. The tools used for the ceremony are now in the Dorset Provincial Museum in Branksome. This stone was eventually repositioned and is now in the reception area at the home. Over the next two years a complete restoration of the building was undertaken by the RMBI and in November 1982 the first residents moved in, with the official opening by HRH the Duke of Kent on 21st April 1983.

Information Care of the Association of Friends of Zetland Court


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