Jump to content

UK St Joseph's Seminary, September 2014

Recommended Posts

Brief History of St Joseph's Seminary

St Joseph's College, Upholland is a Former Roman Catholic seminary, situated at Walthew Park, Upholland, Lancashire, England. The foundation of the large building was laid in April 1880 and college was opened in 1883. The buildings have recently been deconsecrated.

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 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.

Along with the other main seminary in the north of England, Ushaw candidates for the priesthood studied and were ordained at the college. Up until the second Vatican Council boys as young as 11 years of age entered the Junior Seminary before progressing to the senior Seminary at 18. In 1972 following the changes of Vatican 2 the two junior seminaries of St Joseph's and Ushaw merged at Upholland, and in 1975, with declining numbers of men from Ireland offering themselves for the (now) Archdiocese of Liverpool the Senior seminary moved to Ushaw. St Joseph's continued to offer boarding school education for boys considering a vocation until 1987.

Following the end of the seminary training and boarding education St Joseph's became home to the Northern Institute and was used 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.

My visit to St Joseph’s Seminary - Visited with Venustas

After an unsuccessful visit a few weeks before myself and Venustas just could not resist the pull of St Joes and we just had to try again. So, an early start was arranged and before we knew it we was back!

Now this place is notorious for the ‘on the ball’ security and even more for the high pitched killer alarm. Trust me when I say that when that thing goes off all you want to do is curl up in a ball with your hands over your ears whimpering for your mummy. It sure is an assault on your eardrums. This place has been classed as a suicide explore due to the fact that going here you know you have a high chance of being caught at some point.

So that said, the main goal of this trip other than getting the photos we needed was to not set off the alarm or get caught by security.

We was in just as the light was starting to flood in through the windows which was great timing as St Joes really needs light to help show it’s real beauty. So after a 5 minute break to catch our breath we headed off into the maze of hallways and rooms checking for sensors as we went and started snapping photos of this amazing location.

Here are a few photos of some of the hallways. This place is full of hallways of all shapes and sizes.





Now, one of the first rooms we stumbled across that we had seen in other reports was the ‘Red Room



After taking a few snaps in the Red Room we moved on walking down even more hallways and checking out dozens of small rooms that looked like dorm rooms. Each room looked identical with a small fire and some type of storage for clothing and belongings.

Then we found the ‘Squirrel Room’ aptly named as there is a dried out squirrel on the window sill. By the looks of it i would say that it was a male!




Now, just after the last photo above was taken we realised that we was locked in the room! We had heard the door shut behind us but thought nothing of it as doors have handles on right? Wrong! this one did not.

Instantly we both thought … Oh Shit!

As we was on the 2nd floor and the window not being one that can open the door was our only exit so we quickly realised unless we can get this door open we will either have to damage the door panel to get out or do the unthinkable and call security! Neither of which we wanted to do.

We looked where the handle should have been and could see the small square metal bar that goes into the handle. It had been pushed through and almost of out the other side. We started to look for something that we could grip it with but crumbly plaster and peeling paint was of no help! Then, Venustas pulled out two £1 coins and with his what i call a Gorilla grip used them on the bar like a pair of tweezers. As he twisted the bar I pulled on the hanger attached to the door and to our joy we was free! Thank goodness the latch was not rusted! Oh and Venustas’s gorilla grip.

So after a few moments of laughter and joking about what had just happened we move on through this monster of a location.

We knew the main areas that we wanted to see but trying to find them soon became apparent that luck would play a huge part in if we was successful. Today lady luck seemed to be on our side when we stumbled across the library which has the spiral staircase.


So after a few snaps of the stairs up we went. This room was my favourite from the day, it was quite, out of the way and it held a nice calm feeling to it which was the perfect place to take a break and plan out our next route to explore.

It was obviously part of the library below as you will see there are shelves on both sides of the room that would have been full of books. Also, there is a ladder to help you get the books you need and a study table. This table I named the ‘guestbook’ as previous explorers have added their name to it. I am now proud to say that ours are also part of the guestbook.






So after walking down a few more corridors and checking even more rooms lady luck struck again. Out of nowhere the dorm room appeared.

I have always loved the look of this room from the day I looked at it on someone's report. It is nowhere near as in good condition as it use to be from older reports but this place still has a beauty to it. The names of the people who used this dorm are still on the cubicle fronts.



So after grabbing a few shots we decided it was time to move on if we wanted to cover as much as possible before we had to go. After walking around for a while we came across this staircase that connected on to a room with a crazy checkerboard ceiling.



Just to the right of the stairs was the study hall.


Next up we found what we thought must be classed as a small chapel but we might be wrong. This room was small but really nice in decor.


Now with us finding the small chapel we knew we had to be close to the holy grail that is the main Chapel. The main chapel was our end goal as we knew that when we enter that area there is a high chance that we would set of one of the remote sensors and all hell would break loose on our eardrums. We decided that we was happy with the amount we had seen and said lets go. So after about 10 minutes of looking for the chapel entry we found it, held our breath and stepped in ……. wait for the attack of sound ….. any minute now …. NOTHING! Not a peep.

Well that was a surprise, so we started snapping away before security arrived. We said to each other get the shots we need before we get escorted off. So off to work we went, snapping shots from all angles and we even found the bell tower.




Now to our utter surprise of no alarm also came the surprise of no security presence arriving we was in total amazement. With all shots taken that we wanted from this area we left and headed off to a less obvious area to way up our next move.

We knew we was happy with what we had seen so far but decided to walk a few more corridors before leaving this amazing place. We even walked the cellars that was used for storage and from the evidence we found brewing their own wine and spirits!

After that we decided it was time to go. The day had gone better than we could have hoped for, we had not set off the alarm and no security had collared us. We made it to our exit point packed up our gear and headed out. A few moments later Venustas wanted to get some external shots and we knew that security is right at the point where we wanted to take the photo. We both agreed and said sod it, we walked right out into plain sight of security and the CCTV and got the shots we needed then turned round and walked down the path. 30 seconds later security arrived in his car. We got the usual speech and then went merrily on our way after an amazing 5 hours inside exploring.

Crazy getting ourselves caught right? Probably, but the external definitely finished the day off.


More images available on flickr

The images above are just a small selection of the images I have edited. I will be adding lots more photos of St Joseph’s Seminary on my Flickr page which can be found here, https://www.flickr.com/photos/119757413@N07/sets/72157646885632357/

Final thoughts

St Josephs is by far the best explore I have been on and I feel it will take some beating without leaving the UK for places such as France & Belgium. Don’t get me wrong there are some great locations within the UK but St Joseph’s had so much to offer and the sheer size of this place can keep you coming back time and again and each time you would definitely see something new. So I don’t think I should say farewell to St Joes but see you soon!

Thanks for reading,


Edited by DugieUK

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

What a beaut of a report, really enjoyed reading that and the shots are lovely!! I must get up there to see this in the fleash some time soon! Thanks for a quality share :)


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
What a beaut of a report, really enjoyed reading that and the shots are lovely!! I must get up there to see this in the fleash some time soon! Thanks for a quality share :)


Thanks Lara glad you like the report. If you do get a chance to go don't pass it up as this place is absolutely amazing.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats a cracker of a share as Location ,Pics and write up are simply spot on Alan :D

Good to see in the lock in you guys were thinking on your feet and work the prob through.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thats a cracker of a share as Location ,Pics and write up are simply spot on Alan :D

Good to see in the lock in you guys were thinking on your feet and work the prob through.


Cheers mate glad you like the report. We was a little worried with the lock in incident but as you say we worked it out.... Thanks god!

some cracking shots here !, adore the spiral staircase one :D

Cheers Shaddam, the staircase and the room above was my favourite area in the place. But who knows as this place is huge when / if i go back another area may take its place. I did enjoy the cellars but never took a shot :(


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
That's got to be the best I've seen of St Joes, awesome set, cracking write up, loved your story about overcoming the lock in, top share !!


Cheers mate, Thanks for the great comment I really appreciate it. As for the lock in... I'm just glad we got out and did not have to break anything!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Landie_Man
      Ida Darwin Hospital, Cambridge, September 2017/Jan 2018         
      Another year, another one of Landies big backlogs!   I first did this site back in September with a non-explorer friend.  It was pretty boring overall and the one building which looked any good, turned out to be inaccessible.  I later heard the warped door round the back needed a bit of extra tug; but was open!  Doh! 
      I kept hold of the photos until I returned in January of this year with another non explorer and went for the more intact building!  Sadly upon arrival; we found the nice part of the hospital to be completely trashed!  Double Doh!
      Still, it was a day out and good to be in somewhere. 
      The hospital is partly live, but seems to be closing at a fair rate of knots. 
      Way back in the late 19th century; people with brain injuries and single mothers were referred to as "feeble minded" and local authorities were to provide public asylums to house those deemed to be "pauper lunatics".
      Fulbourn Asylum was opened in 1858 for the feeble minded people of Cambridge to be kept in as it was considered that those people should be segregated from the rest of society.
      By the 1960s, the need for provision of dedicated care and support of the mentally handicapped people in the area was noted. The below site was chosen by The East Anglia regional Hospital Board; next to the Fulbourn mental hospital.
       The then new hospital site catered for 250 residents and the aim was that the facilities would enable each resident to maximise their greatest potential. The hospital was named Ida Darwin and has been slowly closing down over the last couple of years.
      There was also a weird poo room where someone had turned a table on  its side and had been going behind the table turned over.  Perhaps someone living rough here.  
















      As Always, thanks guys!
      More At:
    • By little_boy_explores
      Woolley Hall

      The history

      Woolley Hall is a landscape park largely unchanged since 1800. The park is associated with a Jacobean Hall (dated to around 1635 with later alterations). Features include wooded pleasure grounds, a ha-ha, kitchen garden and ponds. The main house is Grade II listed and the courtyard is Grade II listed as being of Special Architectural and Historic Interest. Michael Wentworth began rebuilding Woolley Hall in 1635. The new Woolley Hall consisted of an 'H'-shaped building of moderate size. An east wing was added to the south front around 1680. The western wing was added during the mid eighteenth century. The eastern wings which form the rest of the present building were added in the early nineteenth century. The house is constructed of hammer-dressed sandstone, with a slate roof. There are four storeys including the attic and basement. Recently Woolley Hall went up for sale (2014) with a guide price of £3m from its owners, Wakefield Council. It was purchased in 2015 by new owners Commercial Development Projects (CDP). Plans were submitted (2016) for a hotel conversion for the Grade II listed building. (CDP) had put forward a proposal to create a 88-bedroom hotel, with function facilities to cater for 300 guests, spa treatment rooms and a gastro restaurant. But (CDP), sent an email to the council (2017) to say they have withdrawn the plans, but gave no explanation. In reaction to the withdrawal, assistant chief executive for resources and governance at Wakefield Council, Michael Clements said: “Wakefield Council agreed to sell Woolley Hall to a local developer last year. “The sale was conditional upon them developing the site into a boutique hotel. “Disappointingly, this deal has now fallen through. It is thought the proceeds would be used to re-invest council capital with a spoke person stating “The proceeds from the sale will be used to support the council’s capital investment plans across the district whilst it will also provide an annual budget saving to help us deal with the funding cuts imposed on us by the Government.”

      The explore

      The hall sits in pleasant surroundings and considering its recent endeavour has a boutique hotel it looks like efforts are been made to keep the hall well maintained. so... during a very windy February morning we moved in for a closer look. It was a little difficult to know where to start with this one as there were quite a few different access routes to the hall... Not knowing if we would be met by a security team we started documenting the building from a far whilst slowly moving in. The hall is quite something and reminded us of one of those old hammer house movies... albeit without Dracula. Moving slowly to the east side of the hall we came across what looked like an old boiler house... although four boilers remained only one was operational... perhaps part of the councils money saving scheme. Making our way though we entered the main hall.. Surprisingly most of the rooms original architecture is preserved with some rather exquisite flooring and panelling. although some of the rooms were accessible most of the doors were bolted and without wrecking what looked like a very well preserved old door we decided to document what we could and move on. Although the main hall was the main attraction we decided to explore some of the stable blocks to the north of the hall... It looks like this was used by council departments including Wakefield social services among others. Largely empty with left overs from its office days with little else on offer. There was some very unusual looking housing quarters although we could not find any entry to these building. On leaving the stable blocks we were met by a very pleasant care taker who gave us a little history whilst politely telling us to f*uck off... 

      The pics 
      The main hall














      The stable block







      The boiler house


      oh well time for a game of golf...

    • By The Urban Collective
      Hey, guys here's my video report on the #post-apocalyptic #Camelot #ThemePark.
      I've already made a photographic report with a full history etc so I won't bore you with that here as it is featured in the footage.
      Thanks for any feedback guys take it, easy man. 
      The Urban Collective
      We Film It...
    • By Lenston
      Visited with The Kwan on a rainy Saturday, some lovely bits left in the area and we missed quite a bit so theres always an excuse for a return visit.
      Some History
      The name Ratgoed derives from “Yr Allt Goed”, which means the steep, wooded hillside. Ratgoed mine was also sometimes known as “Alltgoed”. The Ratgoed slate workings lie at the head of what was originally called Cwm Ceiswyr but became known as Cwm Ratgoed because of the quarry. It lies north of Aberllefenni and northwest of Corris in, what is now, the Dyfi Forest.
      The slate that was quarried at Ratgoed was the Narrow Vein. This runs from south of Tywyn, on the coast, to Dinas Mawddwy about 18 miles inland and follows the line of the Bala Fault. The Narrow Vein was worked along its length at places such as Bryneglwys near Abergynolwyn; Gaewern & Braich Goch at Corris, Foel Grochan at Aberllefenni and Minllyn at Dinas Mawddwy. The slate at Ratgoed dips at 70° to the southeast, the same as Foel Grochan.
      Ratgoed was a relatively small working, it was worked from around 1840 until its closure in 1946.

      Le Kwan










      Thanks for looking