Balls. Hee hee.
The Castle Mesen, or, as locals call it, Kasteel van Mesen, in Lede, Belgium. Sure, that's quite a hike for a soiree but, judging by the pictures, you may not need that return flight.
The Castle Mesen has quite the history. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times, and the current building dates to around 1628; almost 500 years ago. It was, originally, a major stronghold, though it ceased to be a royal house after 1796. Since then it has been everything from a gin distillery--Hello Maddie!--to a sugar and potash refinery, tobacco factory and, finally, a boarding school.
Lots of history in those halls, and , judging from its past, not all so rosy.
After the First World War the castle became a school for girls, with tough classes and rigorous discipline exercised in a strict Victorian manner. The 150 pupils were reportedly allowed one visit per month and could only return home for one month of the year. The youngest girls were just 5-years-old.
The school was financed by the Belgian aristocracy and days began early, with Mass at 7 in the morning. On top of their academic lessons, the girls received a thorough grounding in society’s highest standards, from impeccable etiquette to managing employees and being able to perform housework expertly. The process took 13 years to complete, with girls of 5-years-olds eventually leaving the school as 18-year-old ambassadors of high society.
Again, Hello Maddie. This could, with a little scrubbing and some fresh paint, become Mistress Maddie's Home For Grande Dames, no?
Once the Ministry of Defence took possession of the castle, which left it to rot for decades while the cost of restoration spiralled to the point that it was considered uneconomical. The powers that be refused to list the castle as a historic monument and so it sits........
Ready for its close-up.