Exclusive guests from the aristocracy and the world of high finance

The 25-room villa at Riederfurka was completed in record time, taking only two short Alpine summers. In August 1902, the first guests signed the visitor’s book of Villa Cassel, among them many of Ernest Cassel’s family members.

 

Nice grandfather
After Sir Cassel’s wife died of tuberculosis in 1881, he spent more time looking after his sister Minna and his nephew Felix Cassel and most importantly his daughter Maud and her daughters Mary and Edwina (later Lady Mountbatten, vicereine of India).

Later he had the Cassel cabin next to the villa built for his two granddaughters, so that the two were close to him, but still far enough away not to encroach too much on the work and pleasures of the adult world.

 

Busy businessman
After all, Cassel did not stop working at his summer residence. As early as 1901, he had a telephone line to his villa installed at his own expense, in order to quickly deal with important business and always be informed about the latest news.

Today, Cassel’s writing paper and correspondence (exhibited in our museum) and a secret dossier concerning his activities in Siberian gold mines (available for house guests to view in our library) bear witness to the untiring banker.

 

Generous host
During the summers, there were numerous famous and influential guests from the worlds of politics and high finance from England, Germany, France and America staying at Villa Cassel. The young Winston Churchill stayed there at least four times. He used the time to write his books, including the biography of his father. At that time it was said that Churchill had ordered a typewriter, which led to the village rumor that books or even money was being printed in Villa Cassel.

 

Churchill and the farmers
Locals also remembered that Churchill was very disturbed by the cowbells and often got quite angry with the cowherds. This however, was completely pointless as the cowherds did not understand English. It was Ernest Cassel who was able to settle the quarrel. He gave the cowherds some money and in return they stuffed the bells with hay. So peace and quiet was guaranteed for the duration of Churchill’s stay. However, relations between the rich banker and the local farmers were never easy...