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Report - St Vincent School and Church, Sheffield. July 2013

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by Will Knot, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Whilst visiting family and dropping her in-doors at the Meadowhall Shopping Complex, I decided to do a couple of explorers.........St Vincents being one of them.

    St Vincents parish tells the story of so many of our large city parishes in the lives of the poor often destitute immigrants of those years. In the midst of growing Victorian affluence the immigrant community lived in povety and degregation. Starting as a small mission in Solly street the parish of St Vincent's grew. Not only was it a place of worship but over the years it would become a mainstay of the community. It would in time provide education, at first it was very basic to try and discipline the wild and unruly children but with the help of the Catholic Clergy it evolved. Within a few weeks of the mission opening there was a steady increase both in children attending the School and people attending mass. Just over two years when the building started on the Church it had been a struggle to raise funds but in December 1855 they had enough money and the work began. The Church was officially opened on the 15th december 1856. In early 1857 the Supervisor General paid his first visit to Sheffield and was so impressed with the work of the mission

    At the begining of the 1900s not much had changed in the area surrounding St Vincent's Church. the houses were still overcrowded, most of the properties housed seven or more people, lodgers were taken in to help pay the rent. One in four children died before the age of one year, the parish had the highest death rate in Sheffield. Not really suprising when you consider the amount of people living in close proximity.

    1920 saw the division of St Vincent's parish. The area around the church was still mostly slum housing. The Great Depression in the UK caused great hardship in the parish, it eventually resulted in a programme of slum clearances which began in 1929. Many acres of old properties were demolished in the parish and the residents moved to more spacious housing in the suburbs. The slum clearences continued up to 1938 when they were suspended because of the imminence of war.

    In World War 2, the first Sheffield Blitz raid by the German bombers on the night of December 12/13th 1940 resulted in the destruction of the original 1853 chapel when a parachute mine landed on the roof. The original girls school was also destroyed and every window in the church was blown out destroying some valuable stained glass windows. The newer part of the church from 1911 escaped serious damage.

    Post War and Present Day, vigorous fund raising enabled much re-building to be done on the damaged church in the 1950's. Due to the war damage and continuing slum clearances in the post war St Vincent's area, the church lost much of it's congregation as the district was rebuilt as a business area. In 1998 it closed as a place of worship and is in need of some renovation with much of the land round the church used for car parking.

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    Thank you for looking :popcorn Will Knot
     

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