Merton Russell-Cotes (1835-1921) came from
Wolverhampton where his family had agricultural and industrial
After the death of his father in 1842, Merton and his
mother went to live in Glasgow with an elder sister and her husband.
It was here that he was befriended by John King Clark, a wealthy
man with associations in the cotton industry, and who later
introduced him to his only daughter, Annie Nelson Clark (1835-1920).
After several years of unsuccessful ventures Merton married Annie and
worked for the Scottish Amicable Society in Ireland. During this time
they had five children, two dying at an early age. After sixteen years
tile damp climate had worsened his health which led to his doctor
recommending permanent residence in the south of England,
which culminated in the purchase of the Bath Hotel in Bournemouth in 1876.