Kent Life - - Business Life -

A mys­te­ri­ous derelict man­sion with sprawl­ing grounds hid­den by thick wood­land on all sides; you could live two miles from the for­mer Le­gat’s School of Bal­let and not know it was there.

Now this Grade II-listed Vic­to­rian man­sion near Rother­field has made it onto the Vic­to­rian So­ci­ety’s 2018 Top 10 En­dan­gered Build­ings list. Built by ar­chi­tects Ge­orge Goldie and E. W. Pu­gin in 1865 as St Michael’s Or­phan­age for Girls, it was paid for by a do­na­tion from the Duchess of Leeds and run by the So­ci­ety of the Holy Child Je­sus as part of a pair, with the boys’ or­phan­age at nearby May­field.

Its most fa­mous in­car­na­tion was as a bal­let school founded by Na­dine Ni­co­lae­vaLe­gat in the 1970s. But in the early 1990s it was bought by the char­ity Jameah Is­lameah and run as an Is­lamic school, be­fore it was raided by po­lice in 2006 on the sus­pi­cion that it was be­ing used as a train­ing camp for ter­ror­ists.

Since the school closed in 2007 it has re­mained un­used and de­clined – un­til the na­tional architecture char­ity stepped in.

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