About Us:

The History of the Trust

Cliff House Trust was founded in 1921 by Cpt. Andrew McIlwraith with the intention of providing a permanent home for the Salcombe Yacht Club and to offer community facilities for the inhabitants of Salcombe.  The original Board comprised 5 members, one of whom was Cpt McIlwraith himself.  Charitable status was awarded the following year.

The Yacht Club were invited to select the rooms they needed and were given a 99 year lease at a modest rent.  The lease has since been extended to 2073, under similar terms!   The Reading Room on the first floor became the Public Library and alterations were made to the ground floor to create a large Assembly Hall for public gatherings.

McIlwraith also gave the Trust a number of local houses, to ensure a steady rental income which could generate the funds needed to maintain Cliff House.  Orestone End on Cliff Road, The Tower in Newton Road and 42 Fore Street were amongst these houses.   Over the years, the Trust has been forced to sell these properties to meet financial burdens.

In 1961, Cliff House Trust proposed selling part of the grounds known as Cliff House Woods, together with planning permission for two houses.  There was outrage in the town and the idea was shelved: The Friends of Cliff House Woods was formed to own and maintain the woods for the benefit of the public.

Cliff House Today

There are presently 8 members of the Cliff House Board, some of whom have dedicated many years of service to help keep the building available for community use.  With no assets left to sell, they have a tough job meeting the financial demands of a rambling, Edwardian, waterfront house with its endless renovation projects and costly Health and Safety requirements.  Balancing commercial viability with the Trust’s sole purpose of providing an affordable community building is no mean challenge.

Extensive renovations in 2011/12, funded through staggeringly generous personal loans and donations, has helped to create a business model for the future.  Weddings and other major events are charged at a reasonable, market rate and this has – thus far - enabled the Trust to offer heavily-discounted concessionary rates to local community groups and organisations wishing to use Cliff House.  Bar prices and wine lists are maintained at local pub rates for all functions.

The Trust is administered by four staff members: a full-time, residential house manager and 3 multi-skilled, part-timers who – along with overseeing all office duties – manage all aspects of the weddings and other major events.  Additional staff are employed to help with the bar.

Our AGM is in October – check local press or our website for details

We are delighted to welcome new members and supporters – please contact us to find out ways you can help!

Cliff House Trust

Present Board Members:

  • Mark Long (Chair)
  • Margaret Denning (Vice)
  • Roy Collings
  • Bridget Edwards
  • Bruce Fletcher
  • David Moxham
  • David Stevens
  • Gaynor Tabiner

Cliff House Trust - Staff

  • Operations Director: Tania Thompson
  • Weddings & Events Manager: Annabel Tooke
  • Admin & Social Media: Jo Parsons
  • Residential House Manager: Simon Edwards