Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Lillesden School for Girls


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. 





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.




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. 




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’.”




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.




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.



















13 comments:

  1. It is beautiful! I am sick of graffitti being on everthing

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  2. what is this building used for now? love the review!

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  3. Still derelict as per the photos BJ

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  4. So sad to see my old school in ruins. (1979-1987) The Loggia in particular was such a hub bub of us girls all looking for music lesson timetables, listening to music practice in the cells next door to it, coming and going from the prep hall or waiting in the queue for supper.... Halcyon, hectic days! Emma Jagot

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    1. I wondered what happened to the place. I remember the gym, where I went through the floor due to a drip from the roof weakening the floorboard over time. No damage to me just lots of amusement to everyone else!!!1960-1967.

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    2. Any idea where the small swimming pool was located? The one before the bigger one to the south of the main gymnasium building? I have some old photos dated 1922-36 ish which show boys having a lesson in the pool, but I can't figure out where the pool was? I'm doing some research on Lillesden at the moment. Thanks!

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  5. who owns the buildings and grounds now

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  6. i was there 1990-1998 and these pictures (as beautiful and haunting as they are) makes me very sad. visiting the UK soon so will en devour to take a drive up there

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  7. Lovely! Well captured. Decay sets in fast doesn't it

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  8. How haunting and sad to see my old school like this, I attended there many years ago. It makes me want to go back myself and have a wonder round!
    Emma Newman

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  9. how can you get into this

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