St Joseph’s Orphanage among England’s most ‘at risk’ buildings

Posted on - 15th September, 2016 - 9:00am | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston City Centre, Redevelopment
St Joseph's Orphanage has stood empty for years Pic: scrappynw

St Joseph’s Orphanage has stood empty for years Pic: scrappynw

St Joseph’s Orphanage in Preston city centre is among England’s Top 10 most ‘at risk’ historic buildings.


The former orphanage and what was Mount Street Hospital has stood empty for over a decade and sits in a prime location near Winckley Square.

The Mount Street hospital was first opened in 1872 as an orphanage for Roman Catholic girls.

Read more: Watch inside abandoned St Joseph’s Orphanage

It has been closed since 2003 when it was last used as a nursing home, the hospital itself stopped operating in 1986.


The Grade II building is now among the top most endangered historic buildings named on an annual list by national architectural charity Victorian Society.

The society called for an ‘Urgent Works Notice’ in 2009 to keep the building weather tight and secure against vandalism or arson.

The walls inside the former orphanage

The walls inside the former orphanage

Three Lancashire and Greater Manchester buildings appear on 2016’s top ten endangered buildings. For the first time there are no buildings in London and South East England on the ‘at risk’ list.

Victorian Society Director, Christopher Costelloe, said: “Lancashire and the north west has more buildings on our Top Ten than anywhere else in the country.

Read more: Inside the former St Joseph’s Orphanage

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“But for the first time we have no entries for London or the South East. We simply got far more nominations from areas like Lancashire.

“This perhaps reflects the vastly different financial climate for development. But whatever the reason, I hope inclusion in the Top Ten will spur local authorities and owners to urgently find a way to bring these buildings back into use.”

A glimmer of hope for restoring the former hospital had been approved just months ago.

The roof of the former orphanage on Mount Street in the city centre

The roof of the former orphanage on Mount Street in the city centre

Architects have been appointed to draw up proposals for redeveloping the building.

Preston City Council confirmed it is moving to come up with proposals for the site, although the city council does not own the building.

Town Hall sources say Preston Council are growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of action as the historic building falls into disrepair.

Victorian Society Top 10 At Risk:

1. Red Barns, Redcar

2. Victoria Mill, Grimsby

3. Old Bute Road Railway Station, Cardiff

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4. Old Library, Stafford

5, Mount Street Hospital, Preston

6. Clayton Hospital, Wakefield

7. St Paul’s Church, Boughton, Chester

8. St Joseph’s Seminary, Upholland

9. Rylands Mill, Wigan

10. Oliver Buildings, Barnstaple

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