The school buildings were sold by David Rawnsley to a property developer apparently during the late 80's. The property developers were rumored to be converting the place to a hotel or an old peoples home. There were unfortunately problems as the School House building was a Grade 2 listed building...
In a bizarre coincidence there was an attempt at arson by an unknown person or persons, shortly after this... Fortunately the building survived it well and was eventually partially restored for use as a house.
I visited the place in 1998, and took photographs (with the kind permission of the owners), which I will place on the website very soon.
The current state of the property is as follows:
School House (The main old buildings) are on good repair, and are home to the owners of the property. Please do not attempt to view the property unless you have the prior permission of the owners please, as this is now their home. (I do not have a contact number for them at the present time...)
The Assembly Hall and Games Room (plus the small surrounding craft rooms)...
Were being used as storerooms during 98, this may have changed by now. The parquet flooring in the Assembly hall could still be seen through the windows. The games room (which used to house the full sized snooker table) was in bad repair.
East House (the large boarding house)
Was completely dilapidated, on the approach to East House via the tennis court, the remains of the PE changing rooms could be seen (completely collapsed). On the way past the entrance to the tennis courts (where I learned to ride a bike and scored my first goal at junior football), you could still see a sign stating 'Boys must wear rubber soled shoes at all times in the PE block'.
Looking in the windows of east house, the internal structure seems ok, I could still see the coat pegs that we hung our coats on when we lived there.
The Pre-Fab Classrooms
Very bad repair, the buildings (shaped like a large L) are unusable at the time I visited, and were used for storage of old building material.
The surrounding gardens
All the gardens around the old School House are in good condition, the rest are abandonned. According to the owners of the time, the pond had been restored. (Home to many duckings on birthdays)
There was no way even as an adult I was going to look through the woods for the massive waste pit that Mr Chainey the gardener maintained.
The drive in and out of the school grounds has changed. You now enter via the old exit route, as the entrance route is the way to the two houses at the gate only.
It appears to be there still (98), still shaped like an occult symbol. Apparently (and VERY allegedly) Mr Burton was arrested during the 80's, and no longer lives there (if he is alive which is VERY doubtful). I have no idea if the cottage is habitable, however I warn caution to all viewers as there is a massive deep well somewhere in the garden.
Good question. I know of only a few of the teachers that remain alive from Duncan Hall.
Paddy Manifold: Is alive and lives in Norfolk still. He teaches (I don't know if he is still there) at the Roman Catholic School in Great Yarmouth. He is married to his second wife and has three daughters.
Mrs Baxley: First wife of Paddy Manifold and former Infant/junior teacher, she still lives in Norfolk, possibly Caister (where she used to live), and divorced Paddy during the late 80's/ early 90's .
Mr & Mrs Boswell: Dead. Though in my personal opinion this will probably not stop Mrs Boswell, as she was an animated corpse back then anyway.
Mrs Flitton: Living in Great Yarmouth, she retired from teaching in the mid 90's, having worked for private / public schools over the south of England including Reading and Hastings.
Mr Kauffman: No idea if he is alive or dead at all. I imagine the space craft came and took him home. You may remember him better from his catchphrase "Oh dear, how sad, never mind..." & "Do the sign of the divot".
Mr Wood: He was in a bad state last time I saw him (glug glug glug) during the late 80's, so I imagine his liver has left us for a better place by now.
Mr Burton: Quite a scandal about Mr Burton, that I will not mention here, because I am not 100% on the details and do not know whether he is alive or not.
Other Teachers: If you know anything about the others, including Mr Kemp (who drove a mad Ratmobile) please get in touch, as I would love to print it here. Replies of 'working for Lucifer still' are accurate no doubt, however unprintable.
Well, if Tyler still hangs out in East House, I imagine that he is pretty lonely by now. He has probably gone to Yarmouth to work as a doorman in a club or something. Back then of course we were wetting our pants at the mere mention of his name. I will put down more about this in the school legends section.
Well I have no proof of this, however if it managed 200+ years, I am sure another 20 were ok. For those of you looking for the Nelsons Oak, it could be found by following the woods down the side of the playing fields (away from the Ormesby route), until you hit the deeper woods. Once you got to the virtually destroyed old summer house, the tree was about 50 yards from there, and about 6 foot wide and hollow. If anyone can get a picture of this I will put it up. Incidentally now I have had time to think about it, I doubt that the tree really has a secret passage running to the old Headmasters office. (Though of course this WAS Duncan Hall school, so anything was possible.)
If you want to recreate this MAD MAD MAD event, you will need to do the following...
1. Get permission from the owner of the building. You may want to get a group of you all together.
2. Wait till it is really cold.
3. You might want to bring any 5 or 6 year old boys with you, so you can shout at them when they pass out from exaustion.
4. Get a big mean bastard with a slipper to beat anyone who cannot run fast enough to finish in 45 minutes, till they pass out.
Now for the route...
Starting at the massive conker tree that was in the middle of the exit driveway, Run towards the main road exit. For authenticity, use all your energy on this bit, and push someone into the large holly bushes on the right.
Now turn left out of the drive, up the side of the dangerous main road to Yarmouth (with no pavement), and run about 1/2 a mile past the holiday camp, until you get to the small lane to the left that runs between two field. Turn left, and if you were fast enough to get well ahead, stop for a fag.
Now stagger (because this is quite a long way) until you are half way along the lane, and you will reach a crossways. Turn left back to the school.
(At this point, you may believe you are nearly finished, and your will be making deals with the devil for more energy)
Just as you get into the small boundary wood around the playing fields, turn RIGHT, yes, away from the school, BWAHAHAHA! Yes, you are only 1/3 of the way yet!!!!
Now run down this thin path (wasps nests and holly bushes either side), until you get on the wider footpath to Ormesby, this you now pelt down for about 1/2 a mile, until you get to the gate at the end.
Now turn around.
Limp / hobble back the way you cam, down the path towards the playing fields again... (Naughty kids used to just skip this bit... Paddy always noticed.)
Now turn right, and run down the path inside the field border until you get to the corner of the field, now get onto the field, and do a complete 1.5km around the whole outside.
Run to the Big Tree near the field exit.
As anyone of use remember well, our parents were made to cough up for a large outdoor swimming pool for our use during term time. Do you remember using it?
More that twice?
I doubt it really.
Because rather oddly, Mr Rawnsley, who owned the school, built it RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOLIDAY CAMP, which in a bizarre coincidence HE ALSO OWNED!
What an odd coincidence.
I imagine that it is possible that during the times we didn't use it, a few of the holidaying people 'might' have possibly used the pool?
It might have happened.
Mr Rawnsley wouldn't have done that surely?
I'll let you decide for yourselves why we never got to use our pool eh?