Madeira Hall is one among many of Bonchurch’s finest mansions. Located down a long drive leading south off the easterly end of Trinity Road, it is thought to have been built by a Mr. Claxton sometime between 1800 and 1820.
‘The Hall’, as it was for many years once known, was briefly the home of the historian Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1850. From about 1860, the Hall became the home of Mary Dick and her three daughters, the youngest, Margaret Catherine Dick, often thought to be the model for Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’s novel Great Expectations, serialised over 1860-61. By 1895, it had been bought by Dr. John Hougham Bell of the Royal National Hospital at Steephill, and his widow was still living there in 1914.
In 1924, a member of the Swinburne family is given as residing there and then, in Kelly’s Directory of 1935-6, it has become the home of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Samman, a barrister. A decade later, though, Madeira Hall had ceased to be a private mansion, instead becoming a hotel, operated by Mr and Mrs A.G. Burt in the years following the war.
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