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1892 - The Mount bought is by Thomas Atkinson Cotton

The Mount was purchased by Thomas Atkinson Cotton in 1892 and, although newspaper articles of the time refer to his re-building of The Mount, it was most probably enlarged and extended from the house built in 1870 to form the building that stands to-day.

He developed some parts of the estate to include aviaries to house his collection of wild birds and an eagle cage was constructed near to the house. There was also a large collection of stuffed birds which were displayed in the house, as was fashionable in the Victorian period. This collection is currently held by the Hampshire County Museum Service in Winchester. Both Thomas Cotton and his wife, Charlotte, followed an interest in ornithology and botany and both are credited with finds and the cataloguing of rare plant species. Examples from their collection are housed in various UK universities.

According to Hampshire Contemporary Biographies, published in 1905, “Thomas Atkinson Cotton was born in Driffield, Yorkshire and educated privately. He was interested in ornithology and developed The Mount to create one of the finest natural history museums and aviaries in the county. Thomas Cotton was a Fellow of the Zoological Society; Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society; and Fellow of the Linnaean Society. (The Linnaean Society is the world’s oldest biological society and is the society to which Charles Darwin first presented his paper “Origin of the Species” in 1867). He also became Justice of the Peace for Hampshire; Member of Hampshire County Council; a Governor of Hartley University, Southampton, (now known as the University of Southampton); Member of the County Education Committee; Chairman of the Bishopstoke School Managers; Member of the Eastleigh and Bishopstoke Urban District Council and was one of the representatives of the English Municipal Party to the St. Louis exposition of 1904.”

By Chris Humby of the Bishopstoke History Society.

Read more about the history of The Mount