Book reveals secrets of the house on the cliff

Intriguing: Cliff Cottage later became The Splash Point Hotel
Intriguing: Cliff Cottage later became The Splash Point Hotel

Kevin Gordon has been enjoying researching Seaford’s history at Seaford Museum for about 25 years.

One of the questions that people often ask is ‘What is that wall at Seaford Head cliffs?’ Is it part of an old fort?

He said, “Although there was a Tudor fort nearby, the wall was actually the boundary for Cliff Cottage, later a hotel. The building was in a very prominent position overlooking the town and regularly featured on picture postcards.

“Living close by, Lynn Lawson has a special interest in the building. She has researched the house and has produced a fascinating book about it – ‘The House on the Cliff’ [Country Books £12.99].”

Investigating the history of a house can lead to some unexpected gems of information and from the first chapter there are surprises. The house was built for a Mrs Maria Fleming Baxter, an independent lady keen to rebel against the establishment. Her family had supplied jewellery for Queen Victoria’s household and also made the Victoria Cross.

Kevin said, “The house was in a prestigious location and had a number of interesting owners and visitors and Lynn has done a remarkable job gathering information, cuttings and photographs relating to the house.

“The 1930s saw the large house transformed into a coastal venue for the Friendship Holiday Association. Many single women, often those widowed by the Great War, sought an opportunity to go on a seaside holiday and to meet new people – indeed the FHA was nicknamed the ‘Find a Husband Association’.”

Following the Second World War the building became The Splash Point Hotel. By the late 1950s and early 1960s cheaper travel to the Continent hit English holidays and the hotel struggled and eventually closed. The building was demolished. The book is available from local outlets including, Sussex Stationers, Seaford Tourist Information Centre and Seaford Museum.

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