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Report - St Joseph's Missionary College, Mill Hill, London - April 2013

sirjonnyp

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#1
Saturday saw a return to several things for me, exploring away from Kent, exploring with Starlight, and my first time back in Leicester for the first time since June 2010. The big 28 Days Later meet was in Leicester on Saturday evening, so Starlight and I headed up from Ashford, stopping off at St Joseph's on the way as it wasn't too far from the M1. For the last few months it seems like every man and his dog have done this place, so it would be rude not to pop in.

Thanks to GAJ, BHG, and PCW for all supplying me with the same map within two minutes of each other.

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Some history, lovingly borrowed from RaisinWing's report:

The St Joseph's Foreign Missionary Society (Mill Hill Missionaries) was founded at Mill Hill in 1866 by Father Herbert Vaughan (1832-1903). It was the first catholic missionary society to be founded in England.

The college organised successful missions across much of the world, but eventually numbers began declining in the 1980s. The future of the Mill Hill college was first discussed in 1997, and various plans were drawn up in 2004 to allow the surrounding land to be developed to fund the continuation of the college. These were rejected, opting instead to sell the land and premises. The college officially closed in 2006.

It has been used as a filming location for several well known TV shows with the latest being Call The Midwife in 2012.
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The place was wide open, which is never going to do it any favours. Hopefully it's sealed up a bit better at some point soon, otherwise I can see the build being trashed or burnt down. As soon as we got in my tripod head decided to shear off the central pole, so I faffed about trying to fix it before starting off down in the basement. Saw a few signs for Call the Midwife knocking about. I've only one episode myself, it was dreadful.

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We made our way to the older part of the site, which proved to be very photogenic!

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We then made it to the chapel. It was lovely.

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For the next part, I headed upwards. Starlight didn't like the look (or rather smell) of the pigeon poop, and whilst it wasn't exactly nice, I initially wasn't bothered by it. When you get to about half way up the tower though, it becomes stronger, the pigeons become more attacking, and the stairs become a lot dodgier. If only it had been a nice day, the photos from the top might have been worth it!

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It was ridiculously windy up there, and I'm not great with heights at the best of times, so when I pigeon flew directly at my head whilst I was by the edge I was understandably pretty terrified. Not to mention the Weeping Angel, too.

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We then went around the school parts of the site, although these have been pretty much stripped and are relatively boring. I did find a cool poster, but I'm guessing that it can't be an original, so must have been something to do with some filming.

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St Joe's was a pretty cool explore. Yes, it has become quite the tourist trap, but quite frankly with such lax security it's hardly surprising. We didn't have enough time to find a few of the areas that I've seen in other reports, such as the rooftop section, but we at least got to see the most important sections. It was time to leave and make our way up to Leicester. I'm told it was quite a good night :D

Thanks for reading. More photos on the blog.

SJP
 
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