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Report - St Michaels College / Mount St Marys Church - Leeds - Nov 2011


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Visited with NickUk and morse

St Michaels College


From the Yorkshire Eveining Post.
Saint 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.I t stopped accepting new pupils in 2005, letting the youngest pupils work their way up through the ranks until they had the run of the school, which closed proper in 2008.

The first stop on our Leeds day rinse-out was St Michaels Catholic College. Despite being situated next to West Yorkshire police's HMET division, it was hit pretty hard this summer by every explorer and their dog but I've not heard anything from this place for a while. Since then, the people looking after it have been pretty busy. All the ground floor is breeze blocked and there is bloody razor wire everywhere.

After few laps of the building and a failed attempt to extract access from the local residents, it was time to get creative with a bit of splinter cell action.

Scramble scrabble huff puff "fking vandal grease…." we were in.

It's pretty massive inside buts its been trashed pretty bad, and we didn't' spend too long here. I'm not sure what I was expecting though, its a school, not a power station.




You can collect this after class….





Mount St. Mary's Irish Famine Catholic Church

Next stop, "That mint church jST did at the top of Leeds".


From http://www.lihcs.org.uk/mtstmarys.html
Mount St Mary's is one of the architectural treasures of the city of Leeds. It is a grade two (starred) listed building dating from 1853. The laying of the foundation stone was an act of faith in itself as the founders of the church, the missionary order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate had little idea as to where the money was to be found to complete the building. The church stands high on the crest of Richmond Hill and can be seen from many parts of the city. The slope below the church had been known for hundreds of years as 'the Bank'.
For many, Mount St Mary's is the Famine Church, the original chapel was established at a time when Ireland was only beginning to recover from the Great Hunger brought on by the failure of the potato crop in successive years from 1845 to 1851. Hundreds of families, many of them suffering from the effects of starvation and 'famine fever, found some in what became Mount St Mary's parish.
The story of how the church came to be established in the first place, on the initiative of men from the neighbouring St Saviour's Anglican church who were received into the Roman Catholic Church is more than just a footnote in English Church history. These were the people who persuaded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to establish a chapel in Richmond Street, the Bank.
It is impossible to calculate the contribution that Mount St Mary's made in creating a community out of the mass of desperate refugees who found themselves living on the Bank or in other parts of the parish. It was not just the ministrations of the clergy that went to forge this new community. It was the work carried out in caring for the sick and the poor, the setting up of the schools and the orphanage. Most of the latter work being carried out by the Sisters of the Holy Family. One must not forget either, the sodalities and societies within the parish that did so much to bind the community together. Despite the widespread poverty and deprivation that persisted so long, it became a community with a strong identity and contributed so much to the development of the city of Leeds.

The amount of faff it took us to work out way into this, I wasn't sure it was going to be worth it, cursing Nick for delaying our dragline climb for a derpy church, but when I popped through into that main hall I was pretty stunned.










We also took a quick look next door, but the whole place has been fire damaged almost to the point of collapse. The floors in here are worse than Denbigh and I only managed to get this before I almost took a short cut to the basement and left...




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