Established in 1872 by R.W. Hughes for Patron Mrs Maria Holland the St Joseph’s Orphanage in Preston is a red brick complex with a welsh slate roof.
It is architecturally described as “An L-plan formed by main range on east-west axis facing north and long chapel wing projecting on the east side, with porch tower in angle. High Victorian Gothic style. Two storeys with basements and attics. The Tower has main entrance in base, with 2-centred
moulded stone arch under blue-red brick relieving arch, panelled door and overlight (plain glass replacing stained glass), buttress to right, and plaque above door lettered “St Joseph’s Orphanage / Erected and endowed by / Mrs Maria Holland / 1872”; 2 lancet windows below the belfry stage which
has offset angle buttresses and louvred 2-light openings with colonettes and 2-centred relieving arch, and a 2-stage pyramidal spire interrupted by mid-height windows. The main range has a gabled centre breaking forwards, with a projected ground floor lit by transomed windows beneath a band of cross
motifs, 2 pairs of arched windows at 1st floor each with a recessed oculus beneath the relieving arch, an oculus above with a hoodmould, and a half-hipped roof; and its outer bayshave 2-centred arches to the ground floor windows, and small segmental-headed windows beneath ornamented brick eaves. The chapel wing to the left has large arched 2-light windows with original patterned glazing, and one has stained glass. Rear elevation is symmetrical, in similar style, with gabled ends and centre, and has (inter alia) a statue in a canopied niche. Hospital wings added to east end and attached to west end.
The orphanage later became an nursing home which explained the large amount of hospital type furniture and wheelchairs which were still present in the building and will likely account for the large number of operating theatres given the comparably small size of the place.
I visited this abandoned orphanage with The Mule, Mr Costello and Sonyes for another classic Sunday explore! Entry was interesting and rather testing to say the least. I was concerned for the safety of the baby makers while they were uncomfortably holding my weight on barb wire before thankfully not piercing anything :). Once inside I was initially a little disappointed but things soon picked up with the discovery of the Wheelchairs and theatres :). I was sad to see and then later read that the place was very recently invaded by local youths and had been heavily trashed in some part clearly noticeable after we’d seen photos from a report only a few month before 🙁 Most notably the lights in the chapel had all been smashed leaving debris all over the floor. Anyways on with the photos of how she looks in May…
Lets kick things off with a few externals… I really liked the nature of this building, Pete was telling me on the way there how the town seemed as if it had been built around it and he was right. Complete with gardens and courtyards it really didnt seem in keeping with its surroundings. A nice peaceful escape…
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