|HCC Site ID:||1068||Parish:||Hythe and Dibden|
|Designations:||Area:||1920s over 26 acres|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Balcombe Care Homes|
Location and Site
Westcliff Hall is situated on the west side of Hythe, with the land surrounding the house having views down to Southampton Water.
The Tithe map and apportionment, 1842, (21M65/F7/601/02 HRO) record a house called Mount Pleasant House, a fishpond, carriage drive, shore fields, shrubbery and walk as well as arable land. Captain Blythe is named in the apportionment.
The 1st ed OS map, 1870, (HCC) shows a small house and gardens.
A larger house was built for Colonel Vere Hobart in 1844 (GP). The previous gardens in front of the old house were rebuilt. When the house was first built, the boundary of the lands was the seawall just before the shoreline and a quay would have been visible from the gardens forming a vista lagoon.
Kelly’s Directory notes the Misses Wylie living in the house and in 1911, Col Vere Cavendish Hobart is resident.
The Hall was used as a military hospital 1914-18 (Murley, C & F).
The 4th ed OS map, 1932, (HCC) shows a conservatory or glasshouse to the west of the main building. It also shows the drive from the lodge through deciduous and evergreen woodland.
The house was converted to the Westcliff Hall Hotel and in 1934 a north east wing was added. At that time there were 26 acres of woodlands and lawns running down to Southampton Water (121M92/72 HRO).
In the 1950s, the mud flats were filled in. A path follows the old shoreline with the sea wall now on the landward side. Later the hotel was sold to the Association of British Ports (ABP) (GP).
The OS map around 1980 shows Westcliff Hall Hotel still standing in grounds and surrounded by fields (HCC).
Around 1994, there were several fires and the house became derelict (GP and Curtis and Pritchard).
Graham Parkes, the local historian, believes that there are possibly some formal gardens round the house under the growth. Old gates which formed one of the original entrances to the Hall now form the entrance to a house (the old lodge) which was blocked off when the lodge was sold separately. When visited in 2000, the only entrance to the Westcliff Hall was via a farm track off West Street and was closely guarded. The land in front of the grounds, which up to the 1950s were mudflats, now consisted of scrubland, a path with mown side and minimal landscaping, providing a walking area looking out to the new shore line of Southampton Water.
The Association of British Ports wanted to convert it to a Visitor Information Centre but the site was sensitive in the light of Dibden Bay development proposals at that time.
The ABP proposals for Dibden Bay were rejected at the Public Enquiry and Westcliff House was sold for development. The Hall has been sympathetically restored and is now a Care Home run by Balcombe Care Homes. The brochure for the Home describes ‘..beautiful landscaped gardens with spectacular views across Southampton Water’.
Westcliff Hall a mid-Victorian villa with substantial grounds overlooking Southampton Water, was a hotel in the 1930s. Sold to the Association of British Ports it became derelict. Now restored as a Care Home with well-managed grounds.
Information: 2001 and 2013
HRO Hampshire Record Office
Tithe Map and Apportionment 1842 21M65/F7/601/02
Brochure from the 1930s of the Westcliff Hall Hotel 121M92/72
Murley, C & F, 1990 The Waterside: A Pictorial Past p81 and p21
Curtis, I & Pritchard, The Changing Scenes of Hythe and the Waterside 1900-2000
HCC Hampshire County Council
GP Personal Communication, Graham Parkes