Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Challenge #13: Sarah vs Urbexing

Urban Exploration

I find abandoned buildings strangely intriguing. Places that were once full of life just left empty and still, as if they never held any significance at all. Whenever I look at the crumbling walls and boarded up windows, I can't help but wonder what stories unfolded within them and the scenes they've witnessed over the years.

While real urban exploration, or urbexing, involves entering abandoned buildings and having a snoop around, mine doesn't because I couldn't get in I didn't want to trespass.

King Edward VII (Upper) School

It's funny that my old school became the scene of my (not quite) urbexing, because some of the stories its walls hold are mine. Like every teenager in Melton Mowbray, the Upper School was the place I suffered through my GCSE years, bored shitless and desperately counting down the days until I could leave and get a job.

Anyway, King Edward was closed a few years back, boarded up and is now left derelict, so it seemed like a good place to have nose around, especially as I hadn't set foot on its grounds in 13 years. It also has no gate, which is pretty much an invitation really...

As you walk up the drive, through the gates of misery, this is the first building you see. It was the IT centre and I don't think I ever actually stepped foot in it. This was between 1997 and 1999, when there wasn't much to see on the internet. I'm not even kidding.

The building on the right was the dreaded maths block. I say dreaded because my maths teacher was a crumpled old battleaxe. She had shark eyes - completely dead - and probably should have retired about 20 years before I arrived at the school. Admittedly, she wasn't my biggest fan either, as I preferred playing truant to learning algebra. I feel it's important to point out here that I've never needed the algebra I never learned and I've done just fine without it, thank you very much. I think Bruce Springsteen was right when he sang: "We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned at school."

The building that you can just see a bit of at the back was the hall, with the language rooms above. There was a quad in front of it where everyone would meet in the mornings or at lunch time and where all the fights took place, while the sports fields are to the left. I didn't spend much time on there either.

The maths block

This is the maths block (on the left) with the English rooms pictured in the background. I find it funny that I chose a career that involves writing, as English classes here weren't really worth bothering with. My teacher, who insisted on being called 'mzzzzzzzzz' not 'miss' and looked liked Sue from Mel and Sue, insisted on re-arranging the seating plan every single lesson. It was a tedious exercise that took up most of the hour and left us with little time for any learning. I actually did ok in my exams, which is definitely down to me and not any teaching provided by that school.

This is the back of the art block, which led to the cookery rooms and some windowless cavern where I was forced to take some bullshit sewing class. It was bullshit firstly because my mum taught me to sew from a young age and therefore I didn't need to learn how to do it and secondly because I wanted to take graphics and they said it was full, so I moaned constantly until they let me change. Graphics was much better and was taught by a guy who only owned two jumpers, one burgundy and one blue

It may shock you to know that I actually liked art and it was probably the only class I always turned up to. Well, nearly always. I loved drawing as a kid and thought it was art I would pursue careerwise.

This is the back of the music block. The less that is said about my guitar playing abilities, the better. I think if it had involved listening to a lot of music I'd have been a star pupil.

And that's it for what I could access of my old school. Everything was fenced off and either painted with anti-trespass grease or spiked up, so all of the photos were taken through the fencing. I'd love to go in and nose around, see what's left inside. It's weird because I hated that place so much as a teenager, yet it was sad to see it all just left to ruin, left to sit there as it will no doubt do for a couple of decades before it's pulled down. On the other hand, I struggled to think of a happy story associated with that place. The day I left was probably my favourite, released into the wild clad in a spray painted skirt and Doc Martens.

Extra pictures of the sixth form

I can't share any stories of these buildings as I've never been in them, but they are pretty and worth a look.

Verdict: WIN (because it's my blog and I'll make up the rule as I see fit)


  1. Nice photos and sentiments! Your memories pretty much reflect mine if I'm honest; I didn't exactly have a great time there but I can appreciate the lonliness of the building which, as you've stated, obviously holds a thousand stories and even more memories. I haven't lived in the UK for a number of years now and was wondering if they've pulled it down yet?

  2. Hey Michael,

    Thanks for your comment. No, all the old buildings are still standing at the moment. I've heard there are plans to build new homes on the site, but I'm not sure if they will knock all the old buildings down or convert some of them into flats. It would be pretty weird if they just got rid of the whole lot.

    Did you go to Sarson? They knocked that one down a few years back.



  3. A friend shared this photos on facebook, reading this was like reading my own trip down memory lane, and like both of you I struggle to remember many times I wanted to be there. School kills fun in kids in my opinion, i'd avoid public education if I ever were to have kids. There was some fun mostly I think from the six form that I remember between classes, because we could be like kids again, but other than that it was just killing time till we got done for the day.

    I guess I was there two years ahead of you Sarah, 97 I was in the six form, and mike I know I was there one year behind you.

    Thanks for the photos, hope you keep them up so others can have a look. Loved the idea of the 30 year count down too, great stuff, makes me wish I'd of had a shot at the same thing :D