Derelict in the UK – Helenswood Upper School, The Ridge

For many people the site of Helenswood’s Upper School has taken on a new significance in the last few months as the local site for Covid testing.

So we thought that for our last visit of the year to the Derelict in the UK website, revisiting Helenswood Upper School seemed appropriate.

What became Helenswood Upper School and then later ARK Helenswood – was opened in 1929 in a large house situated on The Ridge called ‘The Cleave’. This building was condemned and demolished in 1967, with the school moving to new buildings adjacent to the original site, with a tower block being constructed for classrooms in 1969.

Tower Block – added at the end of the 1960s.

Around 1981, the school developed a further site some two miles along The Ridge and moved the first three years of intake there. In September 2013 Helenswood School was converted to academy status and was renamed Helenswood Academy – later Ark Helenswood Academy.

In 2019, ARK Helenswood and ARK William Parker merged to form ARK Alexandra Academy. It was decided the upper school site with its dated tower block and lack of disabled facilities was now obsolete and the site closed at the end of the 2019 summer term. It will be demolished to make way for a new Special Needs School.

Not many schools in the UK would have been able to boast a view as stunning as this one.
The old playground.

Share your memories of your days at Helenswood in the comment section below.

With grateful thanks to Derelict in the UK for more fascinating travels in to the past

See more of Derelict in the UK here

Watch the videos on YouTube here

4 thoughts on “Derelict in the UK – Helenswood Upper School, The Ridge

  1. I think your dates are wrong. I started senior school here in 1963 and the cleave plus all the other buildings were there. The cleave was an old house, and wouldn’t have had space for all the seniors. I was there for 5 years, and the cleave was still there, not pulled down when you say. I think the nearest block was the dining halls and the tower was chemistry/physics etc.

  2. Sorry but your dates for the ‘Cleeve’ are inaccurate. It was demolished in April 1970 and the Tower block completed in early 1970. It was Hastings High School for Girls until 1978. We transferred to the new block in Summer term 1970.

  3. I attended this school from 1974-1978. it is a really good building, and the view from the school hall has stayed firmly in my psyche. the grounds were great, south facing, sheltered in places, and all with that view.
    I would love to see this building put to good re-use. it would be a tragedy if it were demolished. It is no longer sustainable to keep demolishing buildings, and there is always a way to positively repurpose and rebuild on existing materials. We recently repurposed 80 near-derelict garages in Poplar London to positive use without resorting to landfill

    1. Elizabeth, I couldn’t agree more. We must stop creating waste and condemning our world. But I fear that the almighty dollar (pound) will win.
      If I close my eyes I can still walk through the school (1971-76) and it, along with many teachers, played a huge part in the person that I became.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Some of the nation’s best green spaces are on our doorstep

Today a record number of parks and green spaces collect a Green Flag Award and three of them are right here in our town. Alexandra Park, Hastings Country Park and St Leonards Gardens are among green spaces in the UK have been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as some of the very best […]

Green Party petition urges council to reject harbour plans

Hastings Green Party has delivered a petition of more than 1,100 signatures calling on Hastings Borough Council (HBC) to reject plans for a harbour development in the town. The petition was handed to Hastings Mayor Nigel Sinden earlier today at Rock-a-Nore, where the proposed harbour would be built. Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack was […]

Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (1) in /home2/hastings/domains/ on line 5420

Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (1) in /home2/hastings/domains/ on line 5420