Victorian Society calls to save St Joseph's Orphanage, Preston

By Caelainn Barr | 26 October 2009
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St Joseph's Orphanage gates with barbed wire gates

St Joseph's Orphanage, Theatre Street, Preston has been empty for five years. The building has suffered rainwater damage and is vulnerable to vandalism according the Victorian Society.

The Victorian Society has called for action to help save St Joseph’s Orphanage from falling into serious disrepair. The Grade II listed building stands on Theatre Street in Preston city centre and has been empty for more than five years.

In that time the building has not been protected and has been badly damaged by rainwater although it is in a conservation area.

"That such a striking building in the heart of Preston is not fully secured against vandals is truly shocking," said Kristian Kaminski, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. "St Joseph's makes up a key part of Preston's heritage and should not be allowed to rot away."

The building was constructed in 1872 by R.W. Hughes and was first used as a girl's orphanage. A hospital wing was added in 1877 and was used to care for British soldiers in Word War I and II.

Close up of Orphanage building

The building was built in 1872 by R.W. Hughes, under the patronage of Mrs. Maria Holland, and was used as an orphanage and hospital.

The building is now privately owned and since the release of the report Preston City Council has issued a written reminder to the owner to maintain the building.

"The former St Joseph’s Orphanage was granted re-development permission in 2004. As part of the consideration of this application we intend to impose certain conditions," Phil Cousins, Principal Planning Officer for Preston City Council.

"This will prevent the building from falling into disrepair, and will also address the concerns of the Victorian Society."

A spokesperson for the Victorian Society added, "All too often the deliberate neglect of buildings is the first step on the road to demolition, as the argument is then made that restoration is no longer economically viable. St Joseph's needs to be protected against such a fate."

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