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Report - Lillesden School for Girls - Kent - August 2012

Nelly

Fat Fucker!!!
28DL Full Member
#1

An old classic but well worth a look in but beware of the floors, oh and the falling masonry

Splored with SK, Tommo and Klempner

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Lillesden School for Girls occupies what used to be the Lillesden Estate Mansion, built at the estate (south of Hawkhurst) by the banker Edward Loyd, who co-founded the Loyd Entwistle & Co bank, which later became the District Bank and ultimately the National Westminster (Natwest). Loyd had Lillesden Mansion built after he married Caroline Louisa Foster on the 12th March 1846 at Ashton-on-Mersey. He bought the Lillesden estate at Hawkhurst, Kent in 1853 and built the mansion, finished in 1855.

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Throughout the building there are strong signs of a Scottish connection - for example there is an abundence of thistles in the stonework and decorative motifs, but Lloyd himself was of Welsh descent. His wife was from a distinguished Jamaican family and was in fact born there, so the Scottish connection will have to remain a mystery.

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After the Great War the house and its estate was sold and became Bedgebury Public Girls School. The school sadly closed in 1999 due to a number of issues, mainly falling pupil numbers, low demand for all-girls schools and a merger that ‘went wrong’. The TV fashion guru Trinny Woodall was one of the more famous alumni, and the school did boast extremely high standards for £4,300 per term.

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The closure seems to have shocked parents and pupils alike, as grades were at an all time high and bankruptcy was not an issue. The building itself was a grade II listed French-style chateau, set in 200 acres of Kentish gardens and forests, with ponies stabled in the grounds, a dreamland for children. It was, as one child was quoted as saying, ‘too perfect to last’.”

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It is a relatively well known fact among "Whovians" (Doctor Who fans) that several episodes of "The Curse of Fenrick" featuring The Doctor and Ace were filmed in the building.

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The house has had a large amount of its lead roof removed and the elements had started to take their toll on the place before the developers erected a tin roof over part of the building. It still stands in a series of stunning terraced lawns with well cultured trees and wild roses that clamber up the brick walls.

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