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Report - Crookham Court, Thatcham, Berkshire - September 2013

Discussion in 'Residential Sites' started by Adam X, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Adam X

    Adam X It's a derpy job...
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    I was recently headed to Southampton to see England v Australia in the cricket ODI (I had managed to win free tickets through Natwest - result!). As the match didn't start until 2pm, the wife and I decided to make it an early start and explore Crookham Court in the morning en route.

    I'm so glad we made the effort to explore this place - it really is special. An explorer's dream combination of peeling paint and wallpaper, but with lots of interesting artifacts still surviving and thankfully no real graffiti to speak of. We spent nearly 4 hours exploring, and even then didn't have time to explore all of the outbuildings on the site, although we did manage to pay a visit to the old science laboratory and swung by the swimming pool.

    History
    Crookham Court stands on the former site of Crookham Manor house, built around the start of 14th century and destroyed in 1543, and subsequently Crookham House which was demolished around 1850. The construction of the current building started around this time and continued in two more phases over the next fifty years.

    Since then it has served several purposes such as a manor house, a junior school and a school for children of people serving at Greenham Common. It was abandoned for some time after the US Air Force left the area, before being purchased in 1961 and used as a boarding school until its closure in 1989.

    In the time leading up to its closure, and despite demands for an inquiry, parliament was told by the Department of Education that it was 'powerless to act' in the face of mounting stories of over 30 years of sexual abuse experienced at the boys boarding school by teaching staff after Michael Gold, the then new headmaster, blew the whistle. He barely received recognition for his efforts in finally bring justice for the victims and never taught again.

    In the end it was increasing media scrutiny and public outcry lead by Esther Ransen, investigating child abuse as a presenter on the BBC's "That's Life" programme, that finally brought an end to the years of abuse and the school was closed.

    In 1988 three of the teaching staff were sentenced to a total of 26 years in prison for the long term sexual abuse of pupils. The case had a strong influence on the Children Bill as it went through Parliament, resulting in a new regime of boarding and welfare inspections by social services.

    In 2012 another teacher, and then United Nations Head of Security in Kosovo, was jailed for four years after a pupil filed complaints with police after informing his counseller of the abuse from his teenage years.

    Developers' plans to restore the school and convert outbuildings into an eight bedroom house and 12 small properties have been recently approved. I hope that this might in time help to lay to rest some of the terrible memories of the victims who suffered abuse at the school, whilst enabling some of the original heritage of Crookham Court to be preserved.

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    Ah, the famous bath...
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    PPP, aka Peeling Paint Porn
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    It sounds like kitchens were terrifyingly dangerous places to be 28 years ago...
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    Down into the basement. I like to picture the older students sharing a badly-rolled joint or two whilst listening to some pretentious freeform jazz.
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    I thought this was interesting - perhaps a memento from an overseas student? But then it post-dates the school's closure?
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    Time for a spot of light reading...
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    ...and not so light reading. "Teachers are just people. Some of them are nice and some are not so nice. In this school most of them are reasonable..." Impossible not to read connotations into this given the school's dark past.
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    I was recently asked what sort of explores I'm most into. This shot is a reasonably anatomically correct representation of my Urbex G Spot...
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    Heading upstairs...
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    Hmm...I wonder what sort of plant that might be?...
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    Underneath the (1960s? 1980s?) wallpaper there was some even older paper...not sure what era?
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    Sorry, this had to be done. ;)
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    Off to the science lab...
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    Zinc Oxide and Hydrogen of course!
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    Thanks for looking. A full set is at my Blog.
     

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  2. mastings1066

    mastings1066 28DL Full Member
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    Nice report. I visited a few days ago and in less than two years the place has become absolutely trashed. It's interesting to compare the pictures I took to the pictures on here - it's changed a lot
     
  3. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Nicely captured :thumb
     
    punchoshaun likes this.
  4. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Just saw this thread while looking for older pictures of the place. Nice work, glad you saw it while some of it was intact.
     
    Adam X likes this.
  5. Adam X

    Adam X It's a derpy job...
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    Thanks - yeah absolutely gutting what's become of the place.
     
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