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Monday, 2 July 2012

St Mary's Convent/Westbrook House, Folkestone - Part 1 - June 2012

St Mary's Convent and Westbrook House in Folkestone were a sort of teamed up Prep school, that ran from the 50s through until 2008, when the recession caused falling pupil numbers and the school had to be closed (read here). As with Archcliffe Galleries three weeks ago, I wasn't actually sure where I was exploring - I knew that I was on the correct site, but when I got in and started looking around, the place seemed more like a hotel, less like a school, and nothing like the photos that I had seen in other reports of the place.



Anywhoo, on Saturday I made my way to the site, took my headphones off and did a quick tour around the perimeter fence before hopping the fence at the lowest point and proceeding to make my way down the back of the school buildings looking for some ways in.



These photos were taken from outside as I made my way down the back perimeter of the school buildings, trying every door until I found one that opened.



The roof of this corridor was collapsed, but held up by the metal railing down the middle. There might have been a door the other end...


Pretty tight crawl/crouch, followed by a climb.


Guuuuuuaaaaan.


Lovely staircase. Didn't actually venture up until I was on my way out though...


I've never been in somewhere with so many toilets, or smashed sinks!


Lots of reminders of the place's boarding past.


More smashed sinks...



 After exploring the ground floor I made my way into the basement courtesy of a staircase I found. It housed this lovely looking boiler:




The other rooms of the basement were pretty damn dark, so the P3 made its debut.


Amazingly, the stuff down here was completely untouched since the 80s, which is kind of surprising given that the school closed in 2008.



The main bit of paper here was a holiday timetable from 1985-86.


This was the final room of the basement that I went in.


A sort of workroom. Was just about to try to get this photo below again wheeeen... my camera's battery died!


Such a n00bish mistake to make. I had a quick run around the rest of the building that I was in afterwards, and it's huge - I barely covered a third of it. In one outer-hall part I found an almost working piano. And that's not even the main school building. I have a lot left to do at that site... I sort of worked out afterwards that I was in the convent building, I think. The other building actually has classrooms and the like. Such a fool. I'd also left my decent SD card in my laptop, but luckily had a spare. Always charge your battery, always charge your battery....


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