Friday, March 25, 2011

Boarding school for the sons of the boatmen

This is so far one of the best locations we have visited, not only because of the place itself, but also for the great time we had there. It is a palace-castle built in the C12th. In the C14th it became the residence of the St. Bavon abbots, after the French Revolution it was acquired by a private owner, and in 1948 the Government bought it. Since then until it was abandoned it was used as a boarding school for the sons of the boatmen who worked for long periods in the channels.

The palace had a massive garden and an ice house to store food. The next photos show the main facade and the main staircase when it was a boarding school.

And now here come our own photos. Maybe they are not of the best quality (my camera was brand new and I did not know how to handle all its functions...). Anyway, I hope the pics are good enough to transmit part of the magic of the place, which although being in bad condition, has many rooms speaking of its past days.

This is one of the buildings near the palace itself. What once was a luxury house now is a half collapsed warehouse.

Back facade of the castle.

Maintenance stairs.

The main hall, presided by an impressive fireplace. Exploring the palace we found several fireplaces, all of them different and with their own charm.

Obelix is there!

A room in the lower floor.

Clothes stand for the children to leave their coats.

The main staircase it the most representative element of the palace. I can not help feeling sad when I compare it with the old photo and wondering how important the place was. It is always sad to see how buildings are abandoned, but when they are as impressive as this one, it is even worse. They should be preserved...

Electric panel

One of the classrooms. There are still some books and school material.

An interesting washbasin hidden behind a mountain of tables and chairs.

The kitchens are located in the basement, and there are still many of the original items. We also found in the basement the maintenance room, the boiler room and a food storage.

Some of the documents we could see there.

We went up to the forst floor, where we found the rooms and several halls.

One of the most interesting rooms, where we could find something about the history of the boarding school. There we found some files, postcards and letters from the children and teachers liveing there.

A still identifiable photograpic studio.

More rooms which now only keep objects which will never be used again.

And then we got to the upper floor. Here we found a huge archive with all the exams, homework and textbooks used by former pupils.
The way up to the tower. Inside there was nothing interesting. The room was full of pigeons, and the way up was not very safe.

A strange combination of three doors.

This was used to learn how to read... How it reminds me my Micho books...

During the exploration we had a really good time we will never forget, and I only hope we will see it back to life in the future. Buildings also deserve a second chance.


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