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Report - - St Mary's Convent School, Worcester - March 2017 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - St Mary's Convent School, Worcester - March 2017



clebby

( . Y . )
Regular User
#1
St Mary's Convent School - Battenhall Mount - Worcester.

Visited twice with AndyK, SpiderMonkey, Salmon and Polo. Credit for this lead should really go to @PopPunkJamie, but unfortunately he's given up exploring in favour of becoming a leftist vegan cretin.

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Some history for those who care:

Housed in an impressive Victorian mansion set in 15 acres of grounds, the St Mary's School site is divided into three separate units, Early Years (3 months – 4 years), the Preparatory School (4 – 11 years) and the Senior School (11 – 18 Years).

The house, Battenhall Mount, was built in the mid 1860s and substantially extended 30 years later by Sir Percy Allsopp. Money was lavished on the exterior, the house being built in the Italianate style popularised by Prince Albert. The family did not enjoy their beautiful house for long. The family business failed and the house was sold. During the First World War the house was used as a Convalescent Home.

In 1933, the house was offered for sale. The Sisters of St. Marie Madeleine Postel, a French teaching order with a convent in Reading, wished to establish a convent and school in Worcester. They came to look at the house, but it was rejected by the French Superiors from the mother house as much too ornate for a convent.

However, the asking price was so low and the house in such good condition, that the superiors eventually laid aside their reservations. The certain future of this grand old house was assured in January 1934 when seven sisters arrived to take possession of Mount Battenhall, with a leg of mutton to tide them over the first week before opening the doors to its first four pupils, one of which was Margaret Elgar, the great grand niece of Sir Edward Elgar.

As pupil numbers expanded the site was developed to include a purpose built Senior School which eventually housed up-to-date facilities to deliver a 21st century education. A large Victorian property opposite was purchased for the development of the Prep School. The stables and carriage house were modernised to provide, what would appear to be, a purpose-built light and airy Early Years Department.

Following a surprise announcement in June 2014 that the school had become impossible to run (partly due to recession), the school ceased operations at the end of the summer term 2014.
~

I think the reason that this has taken near enough 3 years to crack is that I've always assumed it would be considerably more sketchy than it actually turned out to be. For a start, when oakleygaymer scoped it out shortly after closure he reported that there was live-in security, a state of affairs that was confirmed a few months later when huey and I were spotted by a security bod within 30 seconds of arriving. A couple of weeks back I returned with Salmon and we noticed a dog van parked onimously outside - it was decided that it was a little 'on top' for a Saturday morning and we ended up retreating to the Malvern waste incinerator *shudder*.

This more recent escapade did, however, encourage me to do some more digging, and I soon came across the estate agents brochure made to accompany the sale of the site. When I was done scraping my jaw off the floor, a plan was hatched with AndyK and SM, although as it happens it was these two who did all the legwork and tested the waters due to time constraints at my end - I simply rocked up at 11.15 and was let in through an open door. Turns out I quite like this arrangement!

Yes I've posted this in public - I was in two minds whether or not to, as it would be a shame to see those interiors trashed when the tourbus inevitably crashes into the place. However I should imagine that one of the "Miz's" will be offering tours here within the week, and if you think for a moment that it won't be all over facebook by the weekend then you're clearly an imbecile. I don't feel that posting in NP would achieve anything at this time, feel free to disagree.

I'll post in reverse order of the explore, starting with the Italianate mansion at the north of the site. Whilst it was originally designed as a country house, the quality and style of the building is pretty unique and quite unlike anything I've seen in this country before.

The school hall

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The stunning covered atrium, with a unique colonnaded bridge

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Under the bridge

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Lousy photo of the staff room - note the window seats either side of the mantle

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Yes that's oil on canvas!

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Sixth form common room

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Headmistress' office (the former library)

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And the school library:

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It has to be said that the quality of the detailing is something else - mother of pearl inlay on the fireplaces..

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..and pressed copper ironmongery:

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Whilst the building is largely Italianate in style it also showcases some distinctly Middle Eastern architectural flourishes, such as these exquisite shutters

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Moving into the attics, out of use for some time and very dated

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The basements, I only took a couple of photos but there's a raft of old junk down to sift through

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For a school that closed in 2014 there were an awful lot of 'derelict' areas that have clearly been neglected for years - this tower was the best example, and would have previously formed part of an oculus (meaning it was open to the lower floors), however the lightwell had since been boarded in, leaving what is quite possibly the grandest store room I've ever seen!

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Cont.
 
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clebby

( . Y . )
Regular User
#2
A couple more from the main house - the biology and physics labs

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A 1960s connecting block has been shoehorned in between the original house and the 1930s wing - it's probably the least interesting part of the site but still quite dated and of its time

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And into the 1930s wing - call me perverse, but I actually preferred the architectural style of this building to that of the main house, and the fact that it's virtually escaped modernisation in its 80+ years was a real bonus

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The classrooms were okay..

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..however the main event was this stunning 1930s laboratory, where we spent ages flinging mercury about and pretending various scientific instruments were bongs

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The lab stores/prep room

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The gymnasium/main hall - reminded me of Talgarth with its tiled roof

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Changing rooms

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I'm not sure that Comic Sans is an appropriate font to use when describing the gas chambers for fuck sake

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And I'll finish with the geography cupboard, unopened since the 90s and home to a rather interesting box :gay

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So there you have it. I do apologise if this report is somewhat pic heavy and has eaten all of your bandwidth, but it really is a very impressive site with a lot more to offer.​
 
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dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#8
Jesus, ticks every box...

Is that linolium in pic 20? Of all the epic in that set I'm most impressed by that.

Great to see shots of door furniture :)
 

TranKmasT

MOP cutout specialist
Regular User
#13
Titallating. Very good work guys. I feel under qualified to mirror whats already been said but I would of stuck it NP for a while, but I think that horse as already bolted.
 

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