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Report - St Joseph's Orphanage, Preston, August 2013

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by catbalou, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. catbalou

    catbalou off the wall
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    Its been a few months now since I last ventured out of the north east hunting for explores and I had noticed this place had popped up again recently on the forum. I had completely forgotten about it, and reading through the posts stirred my interest enough to pay a visit.

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    St Joseph’s Orphanage was built in 1872 for Roman Catholic girls after an endowment from a local catholic lady Mrs Maria Holland who later died in 1878.
    I read on a blog on the history of Preston, that there used to be a painting of Maria Holland in the hospital itself, as a clipping from the Lancashire Evening Post on 3rd September 1987 mentions the Hospital wondered what to do as they didnt know who donated it… and this is that painting and the lady herself: -

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    In Hewistson’s 1883 ‘A History of Preston’, he wrote: -
    “At the southern end of Theatre-street there is a charitable institution called St. Joseph’s Orphanage. The Orphanage is solely for Roman Catholic orphan girls; and they are instructed and generally looked after by nuns. Mr.R.W.Hughes, formerly of Preston, was the architect of the building. Since its opening there have been extensions, the cost of which has been defrayed by Catholics. There are, at present, about 50 orphans here.â€

    Hewitson then goes on to describe the St Joseph’s Institute which was built onto the orphanage in 1877.

    “On the eastern side of, and immediately adjoining, the Orphanage, there is “St Joseph’s Institute for the Sick Poor.†This building, which has its front in Mount-street, was erected out of funds bequeathed for the purpose by Mrs. Holland – the lady who erected the Orphanage; and it was opened in 1877. It is for Roman Catholics; is maintained by voluntary contributions; and is attended; gratuitously, by local medical gentlemen. There is accommodation at this Institute for about 25 patients.â€​

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    The building is a veritable maze, comprising of separate blocks (only one of which was ever an orphanage, which closed in 1954 – the other blocks were known as Mount Street Hospital) and its many corridors, twists and turns would be deemed a health and safety risk under todays architectural rules and guidelines. It has had new extensions over the years; in 1933 a new wing was added and in 1958 another new wing was opened by Princess Marina the Duchess of Kent.

    Proposals on the future of this building were set out in 2009 for it to be turned into apartment blocks and housing... The plan below gives an idea of the different blocks and timelines of their addition: -

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    However fast forward 4 years and the place is still empty, frequented by local youths and is looking rather sorry for itself. All in all, it was an interesting wander, but as with most of these fantastic but forgotten buildings, it is a shame to see it in its current state and a mere shadow of its former gothic splendour.

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    Information and Maria Holland photo from BlogPreston and Preston Historical Society, respectively.​

    Cat.
     

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