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GES072 - Girl's School, East Sussex

L School for Girls (formerly Bedgebury Lower School)The school occupies what used to be the L 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. Source:Dr.Who Locations

A friend who knew I like exploring, mentioned a boarded up building near where she lived. And one weekend in July she held a BBQ. The perfect opportunity to drop by here. When I looked it up on google streetview, I recognised it as the girl's school.

I came through the woods from a nearby church, and the first buildings were some nasty decrepit portacabin type structures. Some names were still present on the coat hooks, I'm guessing they weren't the daughters of a sink estate in Peckham.

Following these buildings, the next structure I came too was a collection of classrooms, built around the main house. This had the classic classroom air about it.

A classroom next door had a set of dividing doors splitting the rooms

The building that joins is this one at right angles, was the school hall. It still had scenery from a previous school play. Walking around the backstage area one could feel the tension budding pupils would have felt before going on.

Away from the stage the building was less pretty. Piles of metal supports, ladders and railings were placed in front of the stage, and you could see where the ceiling had come down to great effect.

To the side of the main hall was the school swimming pool, thoughts of young St. Trinian's Girls innocently play fighting in the pool were brushed aside by the harsh reality of the viscous dirty goop that now filled the pool.

Facing the main hall across the grassy quadrangal was an odd wooden hall type building with a distinctly Harry Potter feel to it.

And finally it was into the house, through a door left conveniently open. The building was pretty shagged as far as the floors and ceilings. Lots of the ceiling was on the floor, and the floor boards weren't that great. There was lots of intricate patterns on the walls and splendid arches that bisected the rooms.

The room to the right of this one was bedecked in a wonderful deep navy blue, with a proud pillar doing it's upmost to keep the roof up. However in the middle of the back wall, you can clearly see where the ceiling has given way, with some poor soul having possibly fallen through or to the arms.

I decided to pass on the main stairs for now, but not without getting a pic from the bottom of them.

A servants stairs were at the back of the house, and I heard voices and the floor creeking above. I listened for a bit to ascertain who they were, and as I got closer I heard the unmistakable sound of a shutter clicking. Feeling safe I climbed up further.

An ageing chap with what appeared to be a false eye approached me with a friendly smile, I said hi. And from behind him I could see a familiar face, GE056 who I'd met at West Park a few times, along with his lady who he met there, GE055. We caught up, and then scuttled off to continue with our explores.

On the top floor here, there wasn't much of interest, most of the rooms were fairly scant. One room just having a trunk lying in it.

I found the nerve wracking corridor of doom, that had a dodgy floor, including the bit that had fallen through in the navy blue room.

A couple of other photographers were taking photos in the main stairs, so I snuck past and looked at the front rooms. One was where the great photographer Miss Aniela had taken a few of her shots.

People still snapping their masterpieces on the main stairs, I crossed to the other side of the house and found my way out onto a balcony with rickety metal stairs providing a fire escape to the upper floor. The balcony sat looking above the grassy quadrangle. The classroom buildings opposite me, the main hall to the right, and the wooden Harry Potter type hall to the left.

Finally I had the main hall to myself, and started with some pasty HDR work to try to capture the top of the main stairs. The huge mirror on the wall reflecting the site back.

Square on, the mirror proved to be a bit of a problem, capturing the photographer in action.

Looking down the stairs, 4 arched holes in the wall, and another large mirror greeted the explorer.

And looking back up the stairs

And as seen in reflection in the mirror, a self portrait I tried to avoid.

A basement revealed nothing but black walls, used as some sort of disco maybe. I then walked out to the original front entrance to the house, a grand affair with lots of glass and white woodwork. Now slowly being reclaimed by natures stealthy tendrills. I found GE055 here, her large domed fisheye getting an outing. We caught up, and then continued our snapping.

Some rather nice tiles were still covering the floor amongst the debris.

A text from my friend reminded me I had other places to go, and I bid fairwell to the others, and set off to Bodiam.


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