Poignant sell-off of contents of closed Norfolk school
- Credit: Tom St Aubyn
From a pommel horse to hymn books, school chairs and Bunsen burners, the entire contents of a former Norfolk boarding school has gone under the hammer in a silent auction.
Hethersett Old Hall School closed suddenly in August 2019, citing declining pupil numbers and "increasingly difficult financial circumstances" as reasons.
The announcement, which came just three weeks before the start of term, left around 100 pupils in the lurch and looking for a new school in time for the new academic year.
Now the entire contents of the school, including everything from textbooks to kitchen equipment, has been put up for sale in the silent auction of 160 lots.
The auction, taking place over two days, saw the contents of the school organised into lots by room and listed exactly as they were left when the school shut.
Among the items potential buyers could place a bid on were the contents of 19 fully-furnished bedrooms, including mattresses, bedside tables and linen.
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Budding scientists had the opportunity to pick up the contents of the biology, chemistry and physics labs and come away with forensic kits, boiling tubes or a collection of petri dishes.
Those hoping to get their hands on sports kit could have placed a bid on a variety of equipment including badminton racquets, treadmills and tennis balls.
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Even the contents of the janitor's cupboard were counted and listed in the sale, including dustpans and brushes, a Heti vacuum cleaner, and a spare toilet roll dispenser.
A spokesperson for Realise Solutions, a Norwich-based auctioneer and valuer which has organised the sale, said the company expected everything listed in the auction to be sold.
They said: "We've had a massive amount of interest. I think just the size of the building, the history behind it and the value of the building as a whole.
"We've had a lot of ex-pupils come who are keen to get hold of medals, plaques and their favourite rounders bats.
"The school is literally exactly how it's been left. I think a lot of it will go."