St. Joseph's Orphanage, Preston - May 2012
Visited with Hidden and sho.
St Joes is creepy as hell. It still has a very unnerving atmosphere.
Massive respect to Sho for doing this place solo and under the cover of darkness... and huge thanks due for going back with us to take another look. This really was his little mission - I just did what I do best and hijacked a ride having been impressed with the previous reports on this place.
Beforehand, I would've said I was surprised at how few reports I'd seen - especially given the amount of hospital-admirers on this forum - but the access really is a bit of a bitch, so I now understand. HS has been several times but still fancied braving the bastard access, so I knew it was going to be good. About as good as you get these days for a Hospital/Asylum explore in my opinion.
The range of sights to be seen here is quite unique - due largely to the multi-functional purposes of the buildings on site and the added religious element - moving from one area to another is totally unreal.
(stolen from a couple of sources onâ€™t web, one of which Iâ€™m sure has posted pictures on this forum but I canâ€™t seem to find who)
I was surprised to learn that what I once thought of as merely â€˜St Joes Orphanageâ€™ is actually three different but intrinsically linked Grade 2 listed buildings.
Firstly, St Josephs Orphanage built and opened 1872 by Maria Holland Trust and run by the Sisters of Charity our Lady Mother of Mercy, nuns that came from Holland to open and run the orphanage. In World War 1 it housed wounded British and Belgian soliders, and in World War 2 it was used to care for Dutch and Belgian sailors. Secondly, St Joseph's Hospital referred to by all the locals as Mount Street Hospital was opened in 1877, again by the Holland Trust, and run by the same order of nuns. Thirdly, the R.C. Chapel designed by James Mangan and opened in 1910 was specially build by money raised for use by the Hospital and the Orphanage.
When the orphanage closed in 1954, the hospital took over the building and built a small link passage to link both buildings. The hospital used the orphanage building as a nursing school and it continued to be the convent for the order of nuns, as it had always been when it was an orphanage.
Another new wing was opened in 1958 by Princess Marina the Duchess of Kent, who was the last foreign-born princess to marry into the British royal family.
The hospital closed in 1986, however all the three buildings were purchased by the present owner who then converted the Orphanage building to be continued as a Nursing Home until around 2003. He also owns the 1930s extension on Mount Street, and the 1950s extension on Theatre Street - which was the geriatric wing for the hospital.
Maria Hollandâ€™s obituary in the Preston Guardian, dated 2nd February 1878.
DEATH OF A CHARITABLE LADY â€“ HANDSOME LOCAL BEQUETHS
In our obituary to-day we announce the death of Mrs. Maria Holland, of Bushell-place, at the age of 72. The deceased lady had suffered for some time past from the natural ailments of advanced age, and succumbed to her illness yesterday week. She was a lady possessed of considerable means, and was noted for great liberality, especially among the Roman Catholic community of the town, of which she was a member. She built and largely endowed St Josephâ€™s Orphanage, in connection with which she has recently caused to be erected a hospital for the sick and dyingâ€¦
â€¦The bulk of her fortune however, is bestowed upon the St Josephâ€™s Institution, for a permanent endowment.
Hewistson writes in his 1883 tombe, â€˜A History of Prestonâ€™:
At the southern end of Theatre-street there is a charitable institution called St. Josephâ€™s Orphanage. It was built and partially endowed by a local Catholic lady â€“ the late Mrs. Maria Holland â€“ in 1872. 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.
The St Josephâ€™s Institute was built onto the orphanage in 1877.
On the eastern side of, and immediately adjoining, the Orphanage, there is â€œSt Josephâ€™s Institute for the Sick Poor.â€ This building, which has its front in Mount-street, was erected out of funds bequeathed for the purpose by Mrs. Holland â€“ 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.
Shouts once more in order to the beast that is Sho. Thanks again for putting this one back on the map for us all, mate.