Victorian buildings “crying out for redevelopment”

Victorian Buildings - Newcourt Residential

The Victorian Society’s annual list of endangered buildings includes a dilapidated school close to the recently renovated Wadhurst Place. The list, which highlights Victorian properties “at a critical point of dereliction”, aims to raise awareness of these buildings in the hope that they can be saved.

The former Legat Ballet School in Rotherfield, East Sussex, is situated approximately 3.5 miles from Wadhurst Place, the former site of Wadhurst College. Now lovingly restored by Newcourt Residential and converted into a collection of luxury homes, Wadhurst Place is an example of one such piece of Victorian architecture successfully saved and restored to its former glory.

Griff Rhys Jones, the president of the society, feels much more needs to be done.

“These are pieces of the history of the Victorian era and its industrial, spiritual and cultural beliefs – incredible,” he said. “And this makes their current sad and neglected state even harder to swallow. Every single building on this list is crying out for redevelopment and could make something truly wonderful for its community.”

Built in 1865 as an orphanage, the Rotherfield mansion was most famous as a ballet school from 1970 to 1990. In 1990, the Legat school briefly merged with Wadhurst College, meaning the two buildings share some history as well as architectural significance.

However, while Wadhurst College has been transformed into the sought-after Wadhurst Place development, the ballet school has been less fortunate. It is currently “shrouded in mystery”, according to Victorian Society director Christopher Costelloe, due to its location tucked away among dense foliage in the heart of the East Sussex countryside.

Newcourt are passionate about the restoration of Victorian properties and were honoured to win a Sussex Heritage Trust award for their work restoring and renovating Wadhurst Place.

The Wadhurst Place show home is open Monday – Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

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