You’d be forgiven for thinking that Harry Potter might spring from some weird corner of this Hogwarts-like school in the Worcestershire countryside. With its gothic windows, long covered driveway and old stone exterior, the magic of JK Rowling’s wizard decor seems alive and well.
This magnificent building is also a boarding school – that of King’s College Saint Michaels near Tenbury Wells. It even has a connection to dragons as an old school crest featured a broadsword symbolizing St Michael’s victory over a dragon.
Until two years ago, King’s College was a reputable independent school for international students. But Covid restrictions caused it to close during the pandemic.
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It fell silent when overseas students found it too difficult to return to the UK in 2020 and has not reopened since. These haunting images show the strange boarding school, which could easily double for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, left deserted.
Hidden in the village of St Michael’s, the school is next door to the historic Tenbury St Michael and All Angels Church. Centuries ago, the building was even used to educate church altar boys.
A charming Gothic wooden door on one side leads to the imposing College building. Here you’ll find a stunning covered walkway that looks incredibly similar to the covered bridge at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.
Two chairs have been placed to prevent intruders on the private grounds, but from the church you can see the beautifully ornate passageway.
Faded tiles line the ground next to arched openings, towards a grassy quad. The college building itself has turrets and attic rooms emerging from different corners. It is a spectacular building, some would even say magical.
The sad demise of this once busy school due to Covid is evident. The tennis and hockey courts are now abandoned and are starting to grow weeds.
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Part of the drive with a turning radius is closed off with temporary guardrails. There’s an eerie sense of abandonment over much of the large site, although it’s clearly still guarded and secure as it’s on private land.
The school dates back to 1856 when it was built by an Oxford University professor to educate altar boys from the nearby church. This explains the Victorian grandeur of the site, located on 10 hectares of land.
The interior has been refitted at present, according to the brochures. There’s even a common room inside, but much more modern than the one in Gryffindor house seen in the wizarding movies.
Before the pandemic, it would have been full of high school students thronging the field. Principal Stuart Higgins proudly wrote about how Kings College Saint Michaels had a “special atmosphere”.
He added that there was a variety of nationalities at the school with students from all over the world from very different cultures, “growing and developing together in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect”.
Now all you can hear is the wind and the birds in this remote rural location.