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Report - Mount St. Mary's Church, Leeds - May 2015

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by WildBoyz, May 26, 2015.

  1. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Mount St. Mary’s Church, also known as the Church of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, was founded in Leeds in 1851. It is now a Grade II listed Gothic Revival style Roman Catholic church. The school situated nearby was founded later in the same year by the Sister Oblates of Mary Immaculate. It was, however, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a small group of men who had abandoned the Anglican church to become Roman Catholics, who first arrived in Leeds with the intention of creating a mission. The mid 1800’s was a time of Roman Catholic revival across England and this group represented just one of many. After gathering financial resources for the first few years, by 1853 enough capital can been accumulated (approximately £8,000) to begin laying the foundation stones for the new holy site. Joseph Hansom was hired as the architect since his level of expertise was considered to be both suitable and respectable: two of his other designs also include Plymouth Cathedral and the Church of St. Walburge in Preston. The church was not fully completed until 1866, when it was officially opened on 13th September; although it had been open for many years prior to this date since the nave and side isles were the first sections to be constructed. In 1916 a tower building fund was launched, to gather donations for the inclusion of a tower into the original design. Nevertheless, because of the First World War donations were limited and, subsequently, no tower was ever built.

    As regards interesting facts and features, it is reported that the church was constructed on top of an old coal mine shaft that dates back to the 1600’s. This was uncovered in 1953 during renovation work. Although Leeds council had no written records of mines in the area, further excavations revealed that a network of tunnels split between three levels exist beneath the structure. A second noteworthy event to have occurred at Mount St. Mary’s Church took place much earlier in 1857, before it was officially open. On 29th July of that year a special ceremony was held at the church and both the Archbishop of Westminster and Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman attended.

    After the Second World War many people living in the area were rehoused as part of the national relocation schemes which aimed to improve housing across Britain. Subsequently, Mount St. Mary’s attendees halved in sized, quickly dwindling from 6,000 to less than 3,000. By 1979 the parish population had fallen to 790 and the costs to repair the church, estimated at £1.5 million, were considered to be too expensive for such a small congregation. In June 1989, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate passed the church over to the Diocese of Leeds, and it was deconsecrated during the handover. Although the site was sold to the Sanctuary Housing Trust in 1996, for a small amount, it has since remained abandoned.

    As noted above, Mount St. Mary’s Church is a Gothic Revival style structure, with a brick exterior and a steep slanted roof. The main body of the structure consists of a high nave and a semi-circular chancel. Inside, along the main isle, a number of columns were constructed to support a Gothic arch. Several steps lead up to a sanctuary at the top of the church, and there is a marble alter positioned here; although it has been partially smashed. Three sculptures are set in the wall around the sanctuary: the north side depicts saints and church leaders, the south royalty and the centre angels, all kneeling towards an emblem of the Blessed Sacrament.

    After a fail last month, Mount St. Mary’s church has been on the cards for a little while now. This time, however, we met up with ACID-REFLUX on our travels, and he joined us for a fun filled afternoon. After a quick scout around the perimeter, standing around in some wild hailstone for a while and being a witness to a couple of precarious moments on the palisade, we managed to slip inside relatively unscathed. When we first found St. Mary’s, the site did indeed look very fort-like, with its palisade fences, razor wire, barbed wire, high walls and local neighbours with prying eyes, and after our escapade my opinion certainly hasn’t changed. Unfortunately, the inside of the church is entirely stripped of all its pews and other things, but the architecture and stone decorations make the trip worthwhile: most are relatively intact and they give you something suitable to photograph. The stone confession booths are a further interesting feature inside this church; it’s the first time I’ve ever found myself inside one, and was an experience that was entirely unexpected.

    Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do and ACID-REFLUX.

    1: Inside the Nave

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    2: Decorative Stone from Outside

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    3: Baptismal Font

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    4: The Marble Alter

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    5: Stone Wall Decorations

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    6: The Alter (Close Up)

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    7: The Afternoon Sun Through the Windows

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    8: Angels and the Golden Crown

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    9: Broken Window Shot

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    10: WildBoyz Fans

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    11: Stone Shelf and Basin

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    12: The Nave from the Alter

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    13: Stonework and Stained Glass

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    14: More Afternoon Sun

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    15: Stone Plaque

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    16: More Stone Decorations

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    17: Code for 'Jesus'?

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    18: The Last Supper

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    19: Stained Glass Window with no Stained Glass

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    20: Tucked Away in the Corner

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    21: Front Entrance

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    22: Stone Confession Booths (Left)

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    23: Mount St. Mary's Church

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  2. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
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    :brewW O W what a place ,cheers for sharing pal
     
  3. jST

    jST LLS.
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    Still looks decent, its a great space. Fuck knows what the developer is going to do with it...
     
  4. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    :thumb Well you've certainly made it look better than I remember it mate lol

    I didn't take much notice of the carvings etc & I didn't realise you had Quireboyz as fans ?

    It was nice to finally meet up with you and the lads ter all this time and it was certainly eventful. Just sorry I missed the climax the next morning for the Birthday Boy ;)

    I don't think I've ever been more disappointed getting into a place in relation to the effort expended (due to the new security measures) and I wished I'd stayed outside playing with the used Drugs gear lol
    But your pics show it in a new light, I might actually like at what I shot now .....maybe .

    Just another local site I've ignored until it's too late, either locked down or trashed. I should have spent more time in Yorkshire than I have, which I've rectified this weekend ;)
     
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  5. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    I think I got that same feeling after we managed to get inside. I left feeling that the entrance was the best bit, but looking back at the snaps, I think there's more to see in there than you first think. You might be pleasantly surprised :thumb The birthday report is coming next ;) You should have come mate, it was a pretty good night.

    Feels good to be back in Yorkshire :thumb
     
  6. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Cheers guys. Glad the shots came out OK.
     
  7. GRONK

    GRONK 28DL Regular User
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    Some really nice pics there mate, well done.
     
  8. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Cheers, thanks for commenting :thumb
     
  9. Pudgetheblob

    Pudgetheblob 28DL Full Member
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    Great shots! :) Just wondering what the secca situation was like?
     
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  10. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    You do realise this is a public viewable forum that anyone can read & we don"t discuss access or Secca in Public!

    It"s not Secca or the CCTV that"s the issue here ;)
     
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  11. Pudgetheblob

    Pudgetheblob 28DL Full Member
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    Ah apologies, still learning! Thanks though :D
     
  12. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    It was an adventurous afternoon, that's all I can say I'm afraid. ACID enjoyed it :thumb ;)
     
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