In the early eighties I attended a Victorian Gothic boarding school in Hawkhurst, Kent – Bedgebury Lower School for Girls, of which Anne Wheelhouse was the headmistress for 27 years. I experienced a huge learning curve in that brief two years. There were ghostly tales associated with many of the rooms to which I was fearfully susceptible, and I missed my family in Bahrain desperately. However it’s also where I learnt to be the hugely independent person I am now, and where I realized that going against the grain may well get you into trouble, but it’s an awful lot of fun.
Recently it came to my attention that the school closed in 1999 due to lack of pupils, and has since been abandoned and fallen into total disrepair. When I looked at the following photographs I was filled with sadness at how forlorn the once great building looks.
The Golden Landing – once carpeted in royal blue. The Christmas tree used to go there, where hundreds of lights would be reflected in the enormous mirror, and Anne Wheelhouse used to tell us stories before bed.
I have already written many of my experiences down. These photographs have brought the memories tumbling back, and made me want to explore the past further by connecting those short narratives into a book.
Has anyone else been inspired to write childhood stories, or been stimulated by photographs that bring the past leaping into the present?