Yet another 'no future' location. Maybe the most sentimental location we explored. Located in the center of Lede, close to Aalst, this castle has a complex history.
Built and destroyed many times, what remains from this building dates mainly from the beginning of the 17th century. In the middle of a pretty public park of 7 hectares, the castle has a lot of outbuildings like stables and an orangery.
After 1796, the castle was not used as a living place anymore. During the next century, the castle was used for the local industry A gin distillery, a sugar refinery, a potash refinery and a tobacco factory took place in the caves of the castle. Still a lot of machines remain there.
In 1897 the castle was sold to a religious order that built the impressive neo-gothic chapel. After the First World War an institution bought the complex and established a school for the local children. A new aisle was added, the nice Dutch pavilion, and also a school.
This boarding school was first located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, founded by Mrs de Maintenon. After its destruction, it moved to Lede in Belgium. The teaching was performed in French. Only female students here, the school is reserved to the penniless aristocracy. Later on, militaries daughters were allowed.
The education was very 18th century oriented: strict and rigorous. The motto was "I'd maintain". For instance, the girls had to greet their teachers with a curtsey performed in three movements when they entered in the classrooms. Then when the teacher went out, the pupils stood up and made another curtsey while saying "Miss, we thank you for the lessons you taught us".
The school was financed by the Belgian aristocracy. The Boël baroness, Miss Carton de Villard among many others. The pupils paid also an expensive tribute.
The days started up early. At 6am they had to wake up and wash. After the 7pm mass, the breakfast and the lessons followed. The mass was given by an external priest, no religious person was allowed to stay inside the school. The chapel, nowadays in a derelict state, had a beautiful long blue carpet in the center alley, with an heraldic lily painted on it.
The education was particularly refined: the girls had to know everything to behave in the high society and in 'great houses'. Learning how to receive important persons but also being able to manage employees, while being able to perform any housework. This on top of the primary and secondary lessons. Actually, one started the school at the age of 5 to finish at 18 years old! The professors taught principles such as "Misses, if you have the chance to manage employees, it is absolutely necessary that you can do everything they can do, at least as well as you expect from them. And if you don't, well this would be at least extremely useful for your family and yourself".
150 pupils lived there. The studies were extremely well followed. The girls received one visit per month, and were allowed to go back home only one month per year.
The leisure? Reading, walking in the country, and gym.
Each 5-6 years old pupil was patroned by a 12 to 18 years old girl who was responsible of her. She had to guide her little one and take care of her, for example watch out her clothes and behavior. The little girls slept in dormitory rooms while the oldest ones had private rooms, equipped of baths.
Problems appear then; Then the problems arose: the castle belongs in 1970 to the Ministry of Defence that let the complex rot. Costs for restoration became so high that it was refused to list the castle as a historical monument.
Associations are fighting for a rehabilitation, but as often money and procedures problems impeach any action to be taken. Still it remains a quiet and peaceful place to explore, although dangerous because everything is collapsing. Sad...
Greatness and decline is the motto here... The location gets more and more vandalized. A place that keeps its own char that we tried to revive by these ancient pictures. Happy exploring.
I live there, not in there, but reaaally close to this... The photo's are up to date ;-) it's really bad... nobody is allowed to enter it, or even come near it, because it might collapse... i never went there myself though... just in the garden... that was huge... i think this building is a registrated monument, not sure though... but nobody does anything with it... demolish or restaurate, whatever, it just stands there, waiting for its natural death... from a distance it's beautiful, but you'll never find me inside, especially at night... it's awfully creepy... Mail me ^^ G
Lovely, haunting, sad How could such a beautiful place be left to ruin. The stained glass and iron work are exquisite
Mijn vader is opgegroeid in Lede. Telekens ik dit prachtig gebouw voorbij rijd krijg ik een krop in de keel. Ik vind dat dit gebouw gespaard moet blijven. Het gezicht en verleden van Lede kan en mag niet verloren gaan.
hey, you can find it near the station, there is a little parc; with a bog gate, it's always open, when you walk there you can see it, but you may not enter. Greetz, sofie
Magnificent this enormous castle van Mesen. We defenly enjoyed our day exploring this place. We made beautiful pictures of this castle. M. Cook
Can some-one tell us where in Lede we can find this building. We surched today 2 houres but we didn't find it.
Ook ik krijg een krop in de keel telkens ik deze eens zo prachtige gebouwen nu in zo'n verschrikkellijke staat zie...Het gebouw of toch tenminste de kapel met de ongelooflijk mooie glasramen MOET behouden blijven!!!Heren ministers, instanties wakker worden verdorie!!!!!!!!
wonderful pictures. personally i think it is a shame to let the castle in that state. I am from Lede and i can assure you, it is (or better was) a very beautiful castle. I explored a lot already, but i discovered a few new things on this site. there's also an underground corridor that connects the chapel with the main building. yet again, it's a shame to let the nature destroy the castle...
A wonderful place to be. As a beginning photographer I had one of my best shoots with a model inside the castle. We met some Castle of Mesen experts that day who showed us the best locations. I hope this unique place can be kept safe. If interested in the result of this shoot, visit my specific portfolio for this location via http://home.fotocommunity.de/koenpho.to > model sigrid > pasword = leveik greetz
What a beautiful place. The comparison photos are very sad, like watching someone you love die slowly you sit and wait. I respect your courage to trample around in these ruins. Maybe someday we will learn that a monument such as this is worth preserving, even at the cost.
amazing place! ... does anyone one when it will be demolished?!
Another Buddenbrook - thank you
ik zen er al gn graffe:D
Gothic Dreaming.I love it!I suppose it's the juxtaposition of man's beautiful expression and the power and timelessness of nature reclaiming it...Thanks for letting me see your fabulous work;more please!
Wat vreselijk dat zo'n prachtig gebouw ten onder gaat, ik snap niet dat de Belgische regering dit soort monumenten niet beschermt!!!
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