Blatchington Court

 

Blatchington Court School for the Partially Sighted moved to Seaford in 1951 and acquired a former girls’ school at 79 Belgrave Road Seaford. The property was once the home of the King family from 1818 to 1877, when it was acquired by Robert Lamb. Lamb was a great developer and the layout of much of Seaford today is down to him. He widened many of the roads and built seawalls in the town.

 Mainbuilding BCweb

 

 

A brief history of Blatchington Court School  for the Partially Sighted (from the school brochure and ‘A short history of the School’ published by the former alumni organisation the Blatchington Association.

In 1840 when aged 22, William Moon lost what sight remained to him. He learnt to read books embossed in type and at once gathered together some blind children in Brighton in order to pass on this skill. Before long he invented a simpler type which soon came to bear his name, and found he had greater success with in when teaching his blind pupils to read.

 

After many moves the school eventually settled in Eastern Road Brighton, where thanks largely to a generous bequest by a Miss Oldham, new premises were built ‘in a style prevalent in Venice during the 14th century’. This ‘Asylum for the Blind’ was opened in 1861. It was designed to accommodate seventy children, but in the year it opened finances permitted only18. The numbers however steadily increased. In 1904 all the girl pupils were transferred to the Barclay School for Partially Sighted Girls which had been founded in the previous decade. From 1904 only boys, both blind and partially sighted were admitted to the school in Eastern Road. During the Second World War the School was evacuated to Upton Hall Newark, now a Museum of Timekeeping. The school returned to Brighton in 1945. At the end of the war the Ministry of Education decided  that  the educationally blind and partially sighted should be educated in separate schools, and in 1946, became the Brighton School for Partially Sighted Boys. The premises at Brighton were cramped and out dated by this time with little space for recreation, new premises were sought and in 1951 the school moved to Blatchington Court previously used as a girl’s boarding school.  

In 1956 a new classroom and dormitory wing, an art and craft block and extensions to the kitchen were opened making it possible to accommodate 105 boys. A senior common room and a larger laundry and drying room were added in 1960. The same year saw the word "Brighton" dropped from the title and the school renamed as “Blatchington Court School for Partially Sighted Boys, Seaford. In 1966 the swimming pool was reconstructed, changing rooms built new plant installed. Two years later, the pool was roofed so as the provided a heated pool for all year round use. The Barclay School for Partially Sighted Girls closed in 1970 and the girls transferred back to Blatchington Court. A nearby property became a boarding house for them, renamed Barclay House and further additions were made to the school to accommodate the extra numbers.

The school was demolished in 1985 and became another housing estate and in honour of the school’s last headmaster was named Wilkinson Way, after John G Wilkinson, who remained a Seaford resident and stalwart of Newhaven, Peacehaven and Seaford Lions Club until his death in 2009. Only the school chapel remains and is now used as the parish hall for St Peter’s Church.