Report - st Josephs seminary upholland-Oct 2014

  • Welcome to - 28DL - The UK Urban Exploring / Urban Exploration / Urbex Forums.

    Asylums and Hospitals, High Stuff, Industrial, Leisure Sites, Residential Sites, Military Sites, Mines and Quarries, ROC Posts, Theatres and Cinemas, Draining, Underground Sites, European and International Sites, Leads, Rumours and News, Kit, Clothing, Equipment, Photography and Video sections plus a lot more.

    Please feel free to browse this website as a guest. Creating an account removes some ads, allows you to post replies, start new topics and threads, and gives you access to more features including bookmarking, live chat, messaging and notification systems.

    Create an account | Login | Request new password

Underground anarchists

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Feb 16, 2016
Ok so this not the usual underground jibe. This is a place i visited some time ago now "hence the date" with a few friends and a bloke who knows it like the back of his hand who gave us the guided tour (i'll mention no names). I used to visit this place in the 90s when it was in its functioning state as my father was back then one of the guards on site and i always found myself fascinated by the architecture and the "feel" of the place with its numerous statues and the paintings on every bit of wall space so i found it to quite a sentimental visit viewing the state and the amount the place has fallen into disrepair is a real shame to see such a grand building falling at nature's feet.

a bit of history on the grand old place. (stolen from wiki of course... )

St Joseph's College was founded in 1880 by Bishop Bernard O'Reilly to be the Seminary serving the North West of England. The college was formally opened in 1883 and was situated in Walthew Park, Upholland, 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 Catholic 'classical and commercial school' under the direction of the secular clergy and was established in Domingo House, a mansion in Everton. Its President for the next forty years was to be 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 continues to this day 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 Upholland was consecrated as the St Edward the Confessor Chapel.

St. Joseph’s (usually referred to by its students simply as "Upholland") was one of two main seminaries serving the north of England. Upholland served the northwest, Ushaw collage the northeast. For many years, each of these institutions housed both a junior (minor) and a senior (major) seminary. The junior seminaries provided a secondary education in a semi-monastic environment to boys aged 11–18 who wished to pursue the priesthood, while the senior seminaries trained adult candidates (mostly aged between 18 and 24) in philosophy and theology as they prepared for the priesthood. A detailed account of daily life in the junior seminary at Upholland during the 1960s was published in 2012.This account also explores the reasons why the Church's traditional form of seminary training may have predisposed certain priests to molest children, which was one of the key findings of a major investigation conducted on behalf of American bishops into the causes of the sexual abuse crisis within the US Catholic Church.

Although Upholland 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 Upholland and Ushaw; from 1972 all junior seminarians in the north attended Upholland, and from 1975 all senior seminarians attended Ushaw. Even as the sole junior seminary for the north of England, however, Upholland continued to suffer a decline in enrolment, and by the 1980s was no longer a traditional seminary but 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 viable to educate them on the premises. From 1987 the remaining students attended St. John Rigby College in nearby Orrell for their schooling, an arrangement that continued until the very last of these students left Upholland in 1992.

In the meantime, following the move of the senior seminary to Ushaw, in 1976 the former Senior Seminary rooms had become home to the Upholland Northern Institute (UNI) with Fr Kevin Kelly as its first Director. He was succeeded in 1980 by Fr Vincent Nichols, now Archbishop of Westminster. Later the College buildings were used more generally as a retreat and conference centre for the Archdiocese under the leadership of Msgr John Devine.

The election of Archbishop Patrick Kelly saw the controversial decision to close St Joseph's altogether and the property was sold to Anglo International who instructed AEW Architects for the conversion of the Grade 2 listed RC Seminary to 92 apartments, with 220 new build enabling units. The major controversies of the decision were the ongoing financial viability of St Joseph's (it 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.

The pictures....


The rooftop



Some of the wildlife !!



General shots.















The statues.










The famous sinks, before some brain dead creature destroyed them



Thanks for looking all.


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Mar 18, 2015
Nice report, always nice to see this place! I bet I know your guide :) :)


28DL Member
28DL Member
May 24, 2016
Just looked around the college on sunday 22 May 16. Was stopped by Security officer near chapel. He was quite chatty. asked me to steer clear of paths then said then told me of this strange group 28 days later. Amazing what you guys are doing. Bringing old buildings to life (apart from the people that smashed them up).
Last edited by a moderator:

Similar threads