Category Archives: Schools & Education

Rest in peace Erskine College.

Erskine college built in 1905 is due for demolition this year and any day now the demolition crews will move in. Urbex Central decided to take one more visit back before it is gone forever, come say goodbye to one of Wellington’s most famous abandoned, ‘haunted’ whatever you want to call it, buildings.




This large (by NZ standards) purpose built former tertiary institute expired at around the same time this Kodak Ektar 64T film did. And just like this 35mm expired film, it is apparently getting another lease of life. There are new owners and supposedly new occupants- but the only life we saw were some homies running their dogs (who tried to have a go at us); an alleged owner who asked what we were taking photos of (selfies of course) & told us to leave; and an elderly security guard who said- just leave. One of UC have a particular connection to this place, having kind of studied (sic) here when it was still a place of education- not stagnation.

Anatomy Class

The teacher in this Bulgarian classroom clearly wanted her/his students to fully know their surroundings and themselves. Anti-fascist partisan artwork was still on display well beyond the fall of communism from 1987, and about a decade later took on a state of suspended animation with the closure of this village school. This photo set is a companion to Gunner‘s video shot in 4K ultra high resolution.

Momentary Suspension of Disbelief

Shot and edited in 4K ultra high definition by Gunner.

We’ve been interested to communicate with former students at this church school who have corrected some of our assumptions, and shared their memories inspired by our images. We don’t make any claim to be historians ourselves, and so, rather than add to an editorialisation, here are some of their responses:

” . . . it’s incredible seeing the ‘wardrobe’ and dressing rooms when we used to put on huge shows that toured around the country . . . When I was a student there . . . there were exactly 31 pianos on campus, and one concert grand piano, a weights room . . . and the dormitories were fully air-conditioned, and heated. The cafeteria was pretty awesome too, and so totally was the in-door heated olympic sized swimming pool. We knew we were lucky to go there.”

“Whilst attending there, I was told on several occasions that Three Nephites watched over the place and protected it from harm and danger. It seems that they too have abandoned it. Perhaps they also ran out of money?”

“I haven’t been back to my Alma Mater since it closed. These pics are eerily beautiful and sad at the same time. So many memories that stir so many emotions. When it opened in 1958 it had the best facilities in the country and remained like that until recently when other schools started to follow suit. Loved my time there. Shame my kids will never know what I felt. This was so much more than a school,it was an experience!”

“State of the art it was. Home away from home. Still miss the toast, sausages and tomatoes for breakfast, and the raspberry cream buns at the canteen. And what about the Friday night basketball matches.”

The Mansion

Built out of New Zealand native kauri wood in 1899 and the largest structure in New Zealand around in its time, this grand mansion is slated for demolition following extensive earthquake damage.

The mansion was built lavishly both inside and out for a Scottish immigrant Allan McLean, and its beauty is resounding even in its currently dilapidated state. McLean donated his mansion to women’s education upon his death, a worthy cause – we hope McLean’s can eventually be restored and not demolished.

Exploring one of Christchurch’s last grand mansions still standing brought emotions of amazement and sadness as we looked around its unique beauty and its so-far-decided future, demolition.




My Teacher’s Left

In 1987, the teachers at this Bulgarian school were told to destroy all artefacts relating to the Soviet era. Instead, they stowed images of Lenin, the communist flag and other left-leaning iconography in the basement and in the attic. One teacher was committed enough to keep anti-Fascist partisan artwork in the classroom, featuring scenes of the educating of children in secret, the supplying of food and water to resistance units hiding in the woods, partisans and their supporters being apprehended by the military and by their fellow villagers, and the brutal interrogations that swiftly followed. Shot and edited in 4K ultra high definition by Gunner.

The Farm

Inside an abandoned former catholic girls school/farm/’rehabilitation unit’ we visited in mid 2013. Founded by a French sisterhood in 1953 -“the girls who came into the care of the sisters often had problems that could not be resolved in their normal environment and needed the loving care of others to restore their sense of self-worth.” The first residents stayed at the ’13’-room Manor built by its previous owner; and over the years the Catholic order embarked on a building program that included a 25-girl dormitory, two-story working/training block, visitor accommodation and sports facility. The last building was an expanded convent for the growing number of sisters at the facility. At it’s peak there were apparently up to 50 nuns in the house, and at least 70 girls. The farm/school/borstal/convent finally closed down in the early 1980’s.