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Maniac

Lillesden Manor/Bedgebury School for Girls - May 2013

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Tricky to know where to put this, as it's later life was as a school, but it started life as a manor.

Lillesden Manor was built in 1855 by Edward Lloyd and was lived in by the family until sometime after the 1st world war, when the house was brought and converted into a private school known as Bedgebury Girls. The school vacated the premises sometime around 1999, and the place has been empty ever since.

Quite well known to those of us in the South, it first cropped up on the exploring radar around 2007 when the first reports surfaced, and was in much better condition then than it is now. Work did start sometime in 2009 with the roof being extensively repaired, scaffolding being put up and the building was sealed up. This didn't last for long however, and the building soon fell into dis-repair again. However according to those we met inside (Lillesden was a busy old place this weekend, we bumped into at least 3 different groups of people) the place has apparently recently been sold with renewed planning permission for conversion into 14 flats - lovely. Well at least it's going to be saved and not decay any more.

I've visited here many times, it's not that far from me and has to be one of my favourite places to spend time in, not least of all because of the fantastic grounds over the back of it, which have many mature trees and shrubs and even thou they've been neglected for many years still look fantastic. I wasn't going to bother with a report, as the place really is looking a mess inside now, but for those who've never seen it and really I suppose as one last tribute to the place before work starts, I shall stick up some photos below.

So welcome to Lillesden

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I've always referred to this as the 'Blue Room'

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There used to be a mirror here, sadly now smashed.

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However amazingly the one on the landing is still intact, and I still love that domed ceiling.

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One of my favourite views across the back of the place from the fire escape at the top - I have the same shot from 2008 and 2010.

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If you look hard enough, there's still clues as to the buildings past as a manor.

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Safe - never seen this before, that door's always been locked!

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Probably the most intact room there, it still has it's floor and ceiling and the light still has the bulbs in!

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Conservatory

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Clock Tower (The clock faces the road on the other side)

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I hope the conversion is sympathetic to the building, I'd love to see how it ends up, I may even try and pop back in the coming months. :-)

Thanks for looking. :thumb

Edited by Maniac

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Nice one, and good to here work will be starting. You must keep us updated with progress reports!

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Nice one, and good to here work will be starting. You must keep us updated with progress reports!

I'll try my best. I say it's not far from me, it still takes an hour in the car to get there, but you do get to drive through some of the nicest bits of Kent so it's not all bad!

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Was waiting for the pic after i heard your news regarding things were now happening.

Well lets hope it is at last a redevelopment starting and not just a shore up and lets prop it up for a little while longer.

Guess time will tell and to get that place inhabital again i would think would take some considerable time.

As Maniacs already said would be great for Anyone living close to keep us informed of the goings on .

Thanks for the update and share

:thumb

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Was waiting for the pic after i heard your news regarding things were now happening.

Well lets hope it is at last a redevelopment starting and not just a shore up and lets prop it up for a little while longer.

Guess time will tell and to get that place inhabital again i would think would take some considerable time.

As Maniacs already said would be great for Anyone living close to keep us informed of the goings on .

Thanks for the update and share

:thumb

I think it's full on work going ahead. There's a portaloo on site, 2 work cabins, lots of shiny new scaffolding going up, proper workplace signs on the gate so it's a working building site. It's sure going to take a lot of work thou. I don't think they'll be able to keep much more than the actual brick shell, all the woodwork is well beyond saving, even in the areas it hasn't collapsed it is looking like it wouldn't take much before it did.

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Have an amusing story for this one, I was inside while they were putting that scaffolding up which was the Tuesday just gone. I do a bit of band photography on the side and had one who really wanted some promo pictures with that amazing mirror and domed ceiling so away we go, I'm picked up from the arse-end of London (Orpington aka Shitholeville) for our 50 min drive down to Kent. When we arrive I take them on a little tour of the outside and suggest starting with some photos by the front as it's quite photogenic. Stomping down the path I go, small stones crunching under my big boots and head around the corner straight into 2-3 vans and a dozen scaffolders shouldering said scaffolding. Thankfully they were making enough noise between them to cover our approach so we quickly darted back under cover and after a brief heads together we decided after that long-ass drive down to carry on the shoot inside. In we go and up to the room only to find the scaffolders have reached level with that floors windows. I open the doors enough to roughly hide our presence but my 5D sounds like a machine gun so our discovery was inevitable. Nonetheless we spent about an hour on the shoot during which the seemingly oblivious bald heads of the scaffolders bobbed about outside the window, thankfully none reaching eye level over the sill as we'd be immediately seen. After we were done we scurried down and over to the burnt out part by the pool where we could carry on without the need to tip-toe everywhere and whisper.

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I have seen the plans and know of the company that has been contracted to do the works..it is well on it's way to being saved...although..to be honest the current owner must have very deep pockets, the last surveyors report hinted at substantial subsidence of the foundations..let's hope it is saved..I remember the days when the mirror still had that beauty of a wooden frame !

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I have seen the plans and know of the company that has been contracted to do the works..it is well on it's way to being saved...although..to be honest the current owner must have very deep pockets, the last surveyors report hinted at substantial subsidence of the foundations..let's hope it is saved..I remember the days when the mirror still had that beauty of a wooden frame !

The current plans are for 14 flats aren't they, and are a time extension on the plans originally granted in 2009. I believe they are building some new properties in some of the grounds as well if the plans in the Tunbridge planning portal are correct?

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Brave man whoever is taking that on, considering the last owner abandoned the plans after realising the cost of fixing the building up even in 2009 would outweigh the value of all the apartments!

I hope that mirror is finally rescued and finds a good home, or is even used in the redevelopment.

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Has a certain je ne sais quoi about the place, some sites have bad feeling lurking within the walls but Lillesden is still quite a youthful and joyous place and the scenery out back is stunning!

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Blimey that really has gone down hill..thanks for posting maniac,as for the work how many times have we heard its about to start?!

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Guest Scattergun

And on that note, is work actually going to get under way or do you think there's still a month or two left on it? Nice shots mate :)

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