Report - - St Aubyns Prepatory School, Rottingdean, East Sussex - April 2018 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - St Aubyns Prepatory School, Rottingdean, East Sussex - April 2018


Obligatory forum furry
28DL Full Member
Howdy once more, fellow explorers!

This a very strange and personal report for me, as I myself attended this very school back around 1998 - 2001. It's safe to say the explore brought on some very weird mixed emotions... the usual excitement of course, but this time tainted with sadness and wistfulness at a part of my youth now lying in ruin.

It all came around following a trip back down to my hometown of Brighton with my girlfriend. To round off a brilliant long weekend, I decided to drive up the coast to Rottingdean and show her my old school. I'd heard through the grapevine that the place had closed a few years back, and so expected to see nothing more than a renovated apartment block with most likely a toytown housing estate built on the old playing fields - so, imagine my surprise when rounding the corner I was confronted by the broken-windowed carcass of my old alma mater! It went without question that I had to explore and revisit some long lost childhood days...

HISTORY LESSON: Settle down, class and be quiet!
Well, actually, I was just getting myself ready to type up a brief history of the school and then I encountered this website: http://www.staubynsschool.co.uk/
I definitely recommend giving it a look if you're interested in the history of this lovely, old-fashioned little school, and it saves the page getting too bogged down in paragraphs of history. Wikipedia will also provide some background - I have to say I'm fascinated to discover that an old classmate of mine is now a successful rugby union player!

I can't find any concrete reason given as to the close of the school - it seems to have been brought about following a merge with a larger education trust back in 2012. Though I was rather disturbed to find this entry on the school's wikipedia page "a broadcast by ITV on 19 February 2018 mentions the school in the light of decades of physical (and sexual) abuse by teachers." This is certainly not anything I encountered in my time there... :c

THE EXPLORE: Parking up alongside the playing fields, it took no time at all (especially given my previous attendance) in finding a way in. The grounds are not particularly well secured and literally anyone with an ounce of experience in this will easily find their way in (or over). Be warned though! Upon a quick wall-scramble I found myself staring into the unblinking eye of what appeared to be a newish and potentially functioning CCTV camera. I decided to take the risk however, my sense of nostalgia was too strong and I figured as someone with no intention to cause damage, I didn't have too much to fear. (I spotted a couple of other cameras dotted around the grounds - still can't say for sure whether they actually work or not.)
I'll let the photos I took do most of the talking, however as stated above it was a weird experience indeed. My last memory of the place was as a schoolboy and leaving behind a happy, thriving little school. To return to desolation, decay and vandalism was quite a tug on the emotions and a very surreal explore. On this explore, this website's name couldn't have felt more true - I really did feel in a "28 Days Later" scenario where I'd woken from some dream to find my old world in ruins around me. Crazy.

Explore-wise, on my fairly brisk poke around the place (couldn't be too sure if those cameras were going to send someone my way) I was only able to access the outbuildings. The main old school building, chapel, gymnasium, dorms and headmaster's house seemed pretty locked/boarded up tight still. If I'd had a bit more time (girlfriend was also sitting waiting in the car!) and confidence that I wasn't going to get rudely interrupted I might have seen what a little climbing could have done as some upper-storey windows were still accessible - I'm planning another trip south soonish so hopefully I can try again.
What I found most remarkable is, despite the vandalism, how complete some of the classrooms still are; several are still filled with books, equipment and even students' work. It seems that when they locked this place up for the last time they left everything behind... there's a good chance that some of the rooms in the harder to access sections could be virtually untouched, or at least have a lot of old stuff to find and poke through in them. Fingers crossed!


I only had my iPhone to rely on for this one so apologies for the quality. I've tidied them up as best I can in Photoshop. Also, as stated above I was working on a time limit so in my haste forgot to photo a few areas and buildings.


This is the back of the main school building. (The front is fenced off and on a public road, so I couldn't get to it.) The wing on the right housed the staff room and prep room, whilst the middle area was where the canteens and kitchens were found, with drama and music rooms off to the right. Upstairs was for boarders, older pupils and staff only, so I couldn't tell you what lies there!


The other wings of the main school building, from the rear. Day pupils like myself were only permitted to certain areas here (yes, there were "forbidden corridors", Hogwarts-style!) however I recall this section housed the nurses's office, stationary room, tuck shop (kept tightly locked!), headmaster's study and the day pupils' entrance/exit. The upper floors housed the boys' dorm rooms.


The view from the humanities block top floor, looking across the headmaster's garden (that's his house on the right) at what, if my hazy memory recalls, were the girls' dorms and I think possibly changing rooms? I think there may have been some classrooms on the lower floor which were for younger pupils (pre-school up to year 5) so once again I never found myself in this area. Beyond the far buildings are the rooftops of Rottingdean - the school is very centrally located making an explore of certain areas quite visible to outside eyes.


This little cluster of classrooms was where I spent most of my time - the white building housed the English and Geography/History rooms on the top floor, with the IT room on the ground floor. I remember well when the new IT suite was completed, complete with fancy new PCs running *gasp* Windows 98 and featuring the newfangled Microsoft Office! Previous to this I recall the room was used for all sorts of general functions, assemblies and so on. To the right was a maths room, a much older IT lab (featuring some wonderful old BBC Acorn computers!), the Latin room (yes really!), French and a general-purpose classroom that hosted various subjects. The room on the near right was the science lab. I seem to remember the centre of the courtyard featured a fish pond, but can't see any evidence of that now...


Crumbling student mosaic work on the corner of a building which held a couple of classrooms I most remember for being where the terrifying and aptly-named Mrs Tempest lurked. Quite a force to be reckoned with, though she did teach me the neat, tidy handwriting style I still use to this day!


The art room, located in the corner of the courtyard near the science lab. 20ish years ago, my own art projects hung on those very boards...



The science lab, still filled with tools and equipment. I used to sit on the middle left row.


A view into what I believe was the old French classroom. Surprised to find stuff still neatly packed away in the cupboards!


The IT room - badly damaged, but still the old computers, monitors and various furniture/equipment to be found!


A somewhat general purpose classroom, though I recall taking maths lessons in it. The windows on the right looked into the boys' changing rooms... best not to think about any possible implications there, methinks. :S


The English classroom located at the top of the white humanities block. It seems the teacher's desk never moved from its spot in nearly two decades since I left!



A view out of the Geography & History room window, looking out over the courtyard with the Design & Tech workshops beyond. (The main workshop was still secured however).


And finally, the gymnasium, which seems to have been the subject of an arson attack although all the entrances in were boarded up so I couldn't investigate. The pre-school building to the right, which was a big wooden chalet had certainly been burned to the ground. Beyond that lay the permanently freezing outdoor swimming pool - I didn't take the time to investigate that on this explore.

Thanks very much everyone for taking this weird yet enthralling trip down memory lane with me! I hope to explore again as soon as I can, hopefully they won't send the bulldozers in before then.. it seems the place has lain dormant for around 5 years now so it's either going to be stuck in planning limbo for another few years or it could get pulled down any time soon. If I can get back for another, longer explore, hopefully I'll get some better photos.

Please as always let me know your thoughts. Did anyone else here ever visit or attend this school? If so, I'd love to hear your memories!

Well... good hunting, Stalkers! :D


Camera Drowner
Regular User
Nice work, good shots for just an iphone too. Shame you couldn't get into the main buildings, looks like could be decent inside.


Obligatory forum furry
28DL Full Member
Nice work, good shots for just an iphone too. Shame you couldn't get into the main buildings, looks like could be decent inside.
Thanks man!
Yeah, providing the main building has remained pretty untouched it could be a real treasure trove in there.
I’m hopefully going to head south again soon and have another crack at it.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I intend to visit this spot soon, got the location from a friend who also once attended. I'm not a vandal and don't intend to trash anything, I'm only interested to experience it for myself and maybe take some couple second films. Could you possibly give me some advice on the location of the cameras and what is the best way into some of the buildings? Looks really exciting!


Obligatory forum furry
28DL Full Member
I intend to visit this spot soon, got the location from a friend who also once attended. I'm not a vandal and don't intend to trash anything, I'm only interested to experience it for myself and maybe take some couple second films. Could you possibly give me some advice on the location of the cameras and what is the best way into some of the buildings? Looks really exciting!
Awesome, I really hope you enjoy it. I'll PM you with a few extra details. ^^

Chloe Explores

Fisheye Enthusiast
28DL Full Member
I’ve been in the main building. I went a long time ago when the local school kids used to chill in there. The outer parts are more interesting than the main building!


28DL Member
28DL Member
Hello there, not sure if OP or anyone else will see this. Only just found this post after trying to find some info.

I was part of the last group of students here before it closed down, I can shed some light on the closing on the school as I was part of the closing of the school, they even suggested keeping the school open just for our year so we didn't have to leave in an awkward year before common entrance. Was good friends with the last headmaster and he shed the truth of the last few years.

Started just before I arrived, the school was in financial trouble being a very small school (only about 200 from reception up to year 8) so was struggling. The school was meant to close 4 years before the school actually did, but 'thanks' Cothill and an investment sum into the school, it was able to stay on for a few more years. They looked good with their investment and buying new computers etc... but it was all just a show off, the land was worth so much more than what they had put in/bought pretty much St Aubyns for. Financial issues were the main cause of closure for the school as most were going to other bigger schools. Cotwell knew the school could not survive so basically bought the land for a reduced price, but it was the only way for the school to stay open longer. I for sure did not hear anything about the abuse claims until just now though but i am sure it did not play a part in the closing.

Will check back here from time to time if OP wants to ask anything else/wants to refresh any memories of the place/any info, just PM me if this forum has one. Ty for photos though, pass this place every day and its sad to see what its become