History of Home


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

Zetland Court was built in 1860 on a parcel of land from the Alum Cliff Estate by  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.

After 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.

The Province of Hampshire & IOW funded a new extension which was erected at this time, at a cost of £250,000. Originally called the Richard Bond wing, named after Major General Bond, the Provincial Grand Master for Hants & IoW between 1964-74. This wing was originally used for nursing care of residents and has recently been converted into a Dementia Unit now called Red Admiral View.

Rear of Main HouseA cheque for this amount was presented to the Grand Master by the PGM for Hants & IoW, RWBro Thomas Langton and a plaque was unveiled to declare the extension open. This sum had originally been earmarked by the Province to build flats for elderly Brethren but that plan was eventually shelved in favour of the new wing.

The Province of Wiltshire also became actively involved and were a major source of new  members to the Association of Friends. This was particularly enhanced when RWBro Byron Carron, the Wiltshire Provincial Grand Master made it his favoured charity during his first year in office.

Zetland Court is run and staffed by the RMBI. It is registered for 71 residents, 15 in the Dementia Unit and 50 in residential care in the main building. There are also 3 residential rooms which take married couples.

A major refurbishment programme has been carried out in recent years by the RMBI, to provide new facilities for all the residents, lifts, telephones, re-wiring, plumbing as well as re-decoration of the whole building. About a third of the home was shut down at a time to allow the work to be carried out. It was not possible at that time to install specific specialized dementia accommodation in the main building at Zetland Court because of its listed building status, building constraints and planning regulations, but this has now been addressed by adapting the former nursing wing.

In 2015 work started  to convert the nursing wing and  remodel it into a dedicated Dementia Unit now known as Red Admiral View. This was officially opened at the 2016 Summer Fair. This area now provides bright stimulating accommodation, a colourful secure garden with potting shed and vegetable area and a separate sensory courtyard garden for relaxation. It has been identified that there are a number of different types of dementia, all having individual needs and these are catered for in the new unit.

Red Admiral View is constantly evolving in order to adapt to the changes in the management of  dementia care and its treatment.

Unfortunately, it is inevitable that there will be more residents who have some degree of dementia in the future.

For more information about Zetland Court please click here.