Crookham Court School – DEMOLISHED

This once-amazing mansion now lies in an extremely decrepit state. Situated on the top of a hill overlooking Thatcham, it lies empty and devoid of life. There has probably been a manor house at the site since the Saxon times. The first properly recorded manor was in 1214. The 1214 mansion was demolished in the mid 16th Century. A new house was built on the site of the old one and in 1850, the 16th Century mansion was demolished to make way for the present building. The present Crookham House dates from 1850-1900; it was built in two stages. It was used as a manor until the Second World War when it became a school for the American children of the pilots of RAF Greenham Common. After the American left the area after the war, the house was abandoned until it was bought in 1961 by Philip Cadman and renamed ‘Crookham Court School’. It was closed down in 1989 after 3 teachers (Cadman being one of them) were revealed to have sexually abused numerous pupils. Cadman was sentenced to 10 years in jail (along with his accomplices) but was reduced to 6 years. Cadman was released from prison and he returned to live at Crookham Court (which had been converted into flats and bedsits) until he died there in 2007, aged 91. Since 2007, the mansion has remained a mouldering ruin. It has been the victim of vandalisation, theft and arson. In 2016, the old stable block (the science labs and chapel), the old PE halls and swimming pool were demolished. At least two thirds of the main mansion has been demolished.