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Whats a seminary I hear you ask? I actually had no idea before visiting this place, but I can now confirm its a sort of massive boarding school where children are abused in the name of religion!
This place needs no introduction but its still arguably one of the best UK explores so Ill go through the whole saga again. I have rather a lot of pics too so bear with me.
St Joseph's College was founded in 1880 by Bishop Bernard O'Reilly to be the Seminary serving the North West of England. On St. Joseph’s Day, 19 March 1880 Dr. O’Reilly blessed and laid the foundation stone of the new college.
In the presence of several thousand persons from all parts of Lancashire, the Right Rev. Dr. O’Reilly, Roman Catholic Bishop of Liverpool, blessed and laid, yesterday, the foundation stone of St. Joseph’s Seminary, an institution designed for the education of priests for the diocese under his pastoral care. This is a project which Dr. O’ Reilly has cherished since his accession to the episcopate….. After the stone had been laid the Very Rev. Canon Walker of Lancaster addressed the assemblage…. He earnestly hoped that not a single member of a Catholic family in that great diocese would miss the honour and privilege of contributing to this important work. Above all, let them recommend daily the success of this undertaking in their prayers to God, asking Him to make the seminary the fruitful mother of learned priests and apostolic men.
The college was formally opened in 1883 and was situated in Walthew Park, Up Holland, the geographic centre of the Diocese of Liverpool.
The first Junior Seminary of the Diocese was founded at St Edward's College in 1842 as a Roman Catholic "classical and commercial school" under the direction of the secular clergy and was established in Domingo House, a large house in Everton. Its president for the next forty years was Monsignor Provost John Henry Fisher. When the junior seminarians moved to St Joseph's in 1920, the school was taken over by the Christian Brothers, who also ran St John Rigby College in nearby Orrell, and now serves as the Liverpool Cathedral Choir School. In recognition of the heritage owed to St Edward's College, one of the two chapels at Up Holland was consecrated as the St Edward the Confessor Chapel.
Although Up Holland flourished until the 1960s, the rapidly changing social climate in that decade led to a sharp drop in enrolment. In the early 1970s, the northern bishops decided to consolidate the activities of Up Holland and Ushaw; from 1972 all junior seminarians in the north attended Up Holland, and from 1975 all senior seminarians attended Ushaw. Even as the sole junior seminary for the north of England, however, Up Holland continued to suffer a decline in numbers, and by the 1980s it was no longer described as a traditional junior seminary but as a "boarding school for boys considering a vocation"
In 1986, the total number of students was down to 82, of whom only 54 were Church students, and it was no longer considered viable to educate them on the premises. From 1987, the remaining students continued to live at Up Holland but for classes attended St John Rigby College in nearby Orrell, an arrangement that continued until the last of these students left Up Holland in 1992.
The election of Patrick Kelly as Archbishop of Liverpool in 1996 saw the controversial decision to close St Joseph's altogether, and the property was sold for development to Anglo International, who instructed AEW Architects for the conversion of the Grade 2 listed buildings into 92 apartments, with 220 new build "enabling" units. The major controversies of the decision were the ongoing financial viability of St Joseph's, which had just started to make a small surplus under Devine's management, and the sale and disposal of the art and artefacts in the college, much of which had been donated by various parishes and people of the Archdiocese, who were not offered their donations back.
Meanwhile in 2019 it was reported that a Catholic priest who sexually abused two teenage boys at a seminary where he taught has been jailed for 18 years.
Michael Higginbottom, 76, was found guilty by a jury of five counts of serious sexual assault and seven counts of indecent assault following a re-trial.
The boys were abused as they boarded at St Joseph's College, a Catholic seminary in Upholland, Lancashire, which has now closed, in the 1970s and 80s.
Quite a special one for me as this was an impromptu meet up with a random stranger at 4am who is now one of my closest friends.
Being 10yr his senior I was determined to prove my worth so we made short work of climbing the palisade then up a drain pipe & through a rather snug hole in the roof & we were in.
Im generally quite impatient & dont spend too long at places, but 6hr just flew by in here, it was fun navigating the maze of sealed doors & precarious floors but every corner had something different to see I think we just about saw it all.
Time to leave & things got amusing, we were tired & amazed we hadnt been caught but realising getting out would be harder than getting in we decided to take our time in the basement then ground floor, deliberately setting off every alarm sensor we could.
Awaiting our saviours with door keys to arrive we continued our tour & after another half hour or so we realised noone was coming! so out the way we came in it was.
We decided to walk out the main entrance via the security hut to see what was going on & sneaking up to the window it was with hilarity we saw the bald head of the security guard fast asleep! (I kid u not, my mate has vid of him through the window)
So all that was left to do was take a dump in his portaloo & return home with a sense of smug satisfaction
Heres the rest of the pics, I made a schoolboy error only having one camera battery which died towards the end leaving me with phone only which also went before we had seen it all but hey ho I thgink I got enough so on with the tour.
Corridors & stairwellsContinued...