The Roxburghe Marine Hotel

August 2023

Jim Herring did some research in the National Library of Scotland on The Roxburghe Marine Hotel, later the Roxburghe Hotel. Here are some of the extracts from articles found using the British Newspaper Archive. Free access is available to members of the National Library. Normally, you have to pay for full access.

Mr Bertram

The John Gray Centre (good photo) tells us that the hotel was formerly the lodge of the Dowager Duchess of Roxburghe – featured here (with photo) on the DDHS website. The hotel was established in the 1890s, extended and new owners took over in 2005. The photo below is from Edinburgh Evening News 21 June 1902 and reports on a dinner for the Dunbar Lifeboat Secretary at the time. The text reads:

“We give a portrait of Mr Wm Bertram, Hon. Secretary of the branch of the National Lifeboat Institution, who was last night entertained by the Lifeboat Committee and other friends in the Roxburghe Marine Hotel, Dunbar, and presented with a marble timepiece and ornaments in a token of the esteem in which he is held by the Committee and crew. Ex-Provost Brand made the presentation. In his reply, Mr Bertram said he had been connected with the branch for 14 years, six as Secretary”.

Lifeboat secretary dinner in 1902 (Click on all photos to enlarge – recommended)

Hotel for sale

In 1906, the hotel was put up for sale and was widely advertised in Scotland e.g. in The Scotsman on May 12 1906, but also in England. The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer on 27 January 1906 had the advert shown below. The text reads:



THE ROXBURGHE MARINE HOTEL, Dunbar, containing: public rooms, 5 private sitting rooms, 43 bedrooms, offices; up to date sea water baths and grounds; assessed rental £340; feu duty £33 7s 6d; entry (taxed at one penny immediate); furnishing and stock at mutual evaluation. The hotel stands in its own grounds, overlooking the sea, in close proximity to Dunbar Golf Links (18 holes), and a quarter of a mile from Dunbar Railway Station.

This is one of the finest hotels that has been on the market on the East Coast for many years, and a great future is before it. For full printed particulars, apply to Barlas and Barlas, Solicitors, Dunbar or D. H. Huie, C.A., 5a York Place, Edinburgh.

Advert for sale of the hotel in 1906

Note the inclusion of seawater baths. The hotel had a boiler which included a pump for pumping sea water from the sea, to be heated and used for sea water baths in the hotel. In the Edinburgh Evening News of 15 June 1927, there was an advert for the sale of a boiler “to be seen at The Roxburghe Marine Hotel”.

The Berwickshire News and General Advertiser on 10 July 1906, had the following advert:

Hotel sold in 1906

At today’s prices, this would be the equivalent of £855,00 according to Given the extent of the hotel – photo below from the Dunbar Community Council website – the price would seem cheap by today’s house/hotel prices. 

Postcard for the hotel

Two famous visitors

The Newcastle Daily Chronicle on 18 September 1906 reported that

Visitor to the hotel

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who became a famous writer, was born in Edinburgh, as his birth entry from the National Records of Scotland below indicates. 

Birth entry for A C Doyle – Available via the Open Government Licence v3.0.

The Derby Daily Telegraph on 04 January 1904 reported that:

PM visits the hotel

The Prime Minister in 1904 was Arthur James Balfour and on his visit to Dunbar, he was not far from his birthplace in Whittinghame. You can read a short biography of Balfour here. An apartment in Whittinghame House, where Balfour (1st earl of Balfour of Whittingehame, Viscount Traprain) was born, was up for sale for£1.89m, the East Lothian Courier (good photos) reported.