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Report - St. Michael's College, Leeds - December 2010

jST

LLS.
Regular User
#1
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Plans to cross the hills that separate our fair county from those heathens in Lancashire were shelved after warnings of heavy snow, plus time constraints led us to try something on the doorstep.

This was Kook’s second visit (and my first) After an extensive and convoluted access we found ourselves in this huge former Catholic school/college with the run of the entire complex thanks to many of the gates that previously sectioned off differing parts now being open.

There was some evidence of squatters plus recent County Court eviction notices taped to lampposts and walls, however, it looked as if they hadn't been around for quite a while judging by sell by dates on food packaging in their "bedroom"...

Here’s some History:

St Michael's was formed in 1905, after two young Jesuit priests were invited to Leeds by the city's Catholic Bishop William Gordon.

They divided the city into north and south between them and painstakingly knocked on doors, encouraging Catholic families to send their sons to the new school, originally called Leeds Catholic College.

As first based in a seminary in the city, the school moved into its new home in 1908 – the current buildings designed by architect Benedict Williamson, who later became a parish priest himself, in London.

Originally a fee-paying grammar school for boys, it took in pupils from not only Leeds but also Harrogate, York, Bradford and Selby.

Catholic girls in the area were taught in the nearby Notre Dame school.

Major changes to St Michael's have included a 1960s extension of new science labs, gym and main hall, and in the 1970s, when Jesuits left the school, the first lay head teacher was appointed.

By the early 1990s, the school had evolved in a comprehensive for boys and girls, and shortly after saw the building of a dance and drama studio.

The school has a distinctive coats of arms, with the flaming sword of St Michael and drops of blood signifying Christ . The school motto, Quis Ut Deus, means Who is like God, and relates to the meaning of St Michael's Hebrew name.

The archangel St Michael is himself depicted in a statue above the main entrance.

Viewed as the "good" Angel of Death, he is more latterly regarded as the patron saint of soldiers and police.

Outstanding features at the school include a large sculpture by Charles I'Anson of hands in prayer, which was a gift from the Jesuit priests before they left.

The school's first floor chapel contains eye-catching stained glass, said to have been designed by renowned artist John Piper.

The main designs include the first three Greek letters of Jesus – IHS, a crowned heart, a cross, the letters SJ for the Society of Jesus (otherwise known as the Jesuits) and the sword of St Michael.

In 2005, the school officially closed, although the buildings were taken over by Mount St Mary's.

As pupils gradually moved up the year groups and sat their GCSEs, no younger pupils were recruited to the site and in essence, the school was phased out. The final GCSE exams were taken today and the site will officially close in mid July.
Fairly photo heavy due to the sheer size of the campus and the amount of stuff left behind... Hope you like.

The primary front elevation of the College.

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Lights on, no-one home.

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Relief Maps in de cellar

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Workshops

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Electronic testing labs.

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Art Room

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Moar Labs

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Map Room & Staff room kitchen.

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Old school projector and weighing scales.

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The rooftop greenhouse, unfortunately locked.

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Moar pics to follow from KooK, thanks for looking

Also, here's a link to Kook's previous report
 

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Last edited:

KooK

Tall & Flexible
28DL Full Member
#2
Stirling work squire, this was definitley a think outside the box type AP!

Great memories from here as this was my first ever solo explore way back when, kept checking back regularly to try get access but this was the first time an opportunity arose.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!
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Thanks for looking again :thumb
 

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