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Report - Lillesden School For Girls, Hawkhurst, Kent - October 2012

sirjonnyp

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#1
After an annoyingly explore-free weekend last weekend (well, did some field research at least) and a bit of a fail when I was in London during the week, I was itching to get back there and cracking on. After reading that Lillesden had had a fire, I decided it was worth checking to see how bad the damage was. I had two options to get there; a 20 minute train journey to Staplehurst and a 10 mile bike ride to Hawkhurst, or a hour and a half train journey to Etchingham and a 5 mile bike ride. I went for the former, which proved to be a bit of a mistake, as I'm in no shape for the seemingly endless uphill climbs that I encountered. On the train down I realised I'd forgotten to find out where Babies Castle was, to do after, but found it by accident on the way into Hawkhurst. May do a report of that when I go through those photos.

Anyway, on with the report.

History from Doctorwholocations.net
The school occupies what used to be the Lillesden Estate Mansion, built at the estate (south of Hawkhurst) in 1855 by the banker Edward Loyd, who moved there after marrying. The house and estate remained in the family until just after the First World War, when it was then sold and eventually became the Bedgebury Girls Public School.

The school closed around 1999 and has been abandoned ever since. Due to the theft of its lead roof, water damage is now sadly causing the buildings to collapse. However, it is now owned by a property developed and expected to be converted into private apartments at some point in the future.
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Access to the site itself was easy, although finding somewhere to lock my bike was a challenge!

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I really didn't expect the place to be so big, so was pleasantly surprised by how big it is.

First up were a few of the out-buildings, including this boiler room:

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I then made my way into the main building via what used to be the changing rooms and gym

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Lots of tape in this room, almost looked like a new-age art exhibition

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The school had some really nice and interesting staircases, including on from the top level that curved that I forgot to photo

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One of the outbuildings turned out to be the assembly room, where a large portion of the ceiling had given up and collapsed, not sure how recently though.

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Behind this was the swimming pool, which looks less than desirable

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Turns out Lillesden has got a lot of chairs lying around, only one chairshot for me though

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After this I made my way into the basement, which was huge! In one part I did find a laid out sleeping bag with some pringles, so I assume its occupier was elsewhere, perhaps spooked off by the fire the night before.

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I really loved the brickwork at the far end, it felt more like a bomb shelter than a school basement

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After this I headed upstairs, but the lack of safe flooring on the first level led me to go straight to the top level. There wasn't too much of interest up there really other than the infamous bath graffiti, although I had a nice smoke sitting atop the fire exit with the sun going down to my right.

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I then realised the sun going down was a bad thing, as I had to get to a train station before it got dark. So I rushed around, grabbed a few more shots, including one of the magnificent dome which didn't come out, and then headed out.

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I grabbed a shot of the fire-damaged outbuilding, which is the one closest to the road. Fortunately the damage was not too bad, and it was contained well too.

That concluded my Lillesden adventure, which I would have loved to have spent another hour exploring rather than the quite frankly ridiculous journey home that I had to make, involving missing my train by one minute, a chicken shop in St Leonard's Warrior Square, and managing to get a bike on to the busiest non-tube train I have ever seen.

Cheers for reading

SJP
 

P95lmb

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#5
if you mean the roof has a cover over it on google images ,well it always has
If you look on images there appears to be a fence round the outside, some vans parked outside and also the said scaffold round the outside of the building.
 

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
#6
If you look on images there appears to be a fence round the outside, some vans parked outside and also the said scaffold round the outside of the building.
They have been in the process of sorting this place out for years ,it may be that something is finally happening then
 

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