Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan



Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Saturday, 10th July, 2021)

St Joseph/St Thomas


St Joseph/St Thomas
St Joseph/St Thomas, Caroline St, Wigan. I pass this church regularly and I’ve watched it slowly disintegrate over the years. I think I would rather see it demolished than left to rot like this.

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX500)
Views: 1,853

Comment by: Rainh on 10th July 2021 at 01:26

This one certainly tugs on the heartstrings. Last time I was in here, I was a young boy, with my whole life before me.. A picture to bring one to pause.
Thank you for posting Dennis.

Comment by: Michael Gormally on 10th July 2021 at 04:24

This is St Joseph"s church. It is not "St Joseph/St Thomas". St Thomas's was an Anglican church, diagonally opposite St Joseph's on Caroline Street. It closed in 1970 and was demolished shortly afterwards.

Comment by: Michael Gormally on 10th July 2021 at 06:18

https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?opt=2&id=421&gallery=St+Thomas%27s+C+of+E%2C+Wigan&page=1

Comment by: Mary. on 10th July 2021 at 06:37

This was the Roman Catholic church of St. Joseph.

Comment by: Mick on 10th July 2021 at 07:08

You can have a peep inside this derelict church if you want by copying a pasting the link below, but be careful because theirs lumps of plaster falling and low flying pigeons.

https://youtu.be/tvp6s1otJ-Y

Comment by: Veronica on 10th July 2021 at 08:33

It does seem utterly pointless to be left like it is. There must be a reason, complicated or what. A left over to the days when people were more 'God Fearing' ..

Comment by: Maureen on 10th July 2021 at 08:34

Oh my lovely Church,I could go on and on about the comfort it gave me through the years..all my family were christened there,and married.
Now there's hardly any roof,it's about two inches deep in pigeon poo..but a lot of my childhood memories start with this Church so it will always have a place in my heart..and the statue of St Joseph on the front wall seems to stay as white as driven snow even though the traffic that passes there is non stop,I could fill this page with tales of it but I'd bore you all to death..but it will always remain my Church.

Comment by: irene roberts on 10th July 2021 at 09:44

So sad to see it like this, especially for Maureen who has such a strong connection to it. I am not Catholic but grew up next door to St. Williams in Ince and feel it was a part of my life as many of my Catholic childhood friends went there in the days when churches were well-attended , and I was very sad to see it close some time ago, The two chapels in Ince Cemetery are also in a very bad state and yet I would hate to see them demolished. Not being a church-goer myself, I suppose I have no right to comment on the more "modern" churches that I see around, but they seem to lack something that churches like St. Joseph's had. I have no doubt that their congregations would tell me that it the people who worship there that make up the church, and they would be right, but I feel so sad to see these beautiful old buildings, full of ghosts and memories, become just another job for the demolition men.

Comment by: James Hanson on 10th July 2021 at 10:00

I would love to live a church like that

Comment by: Veronica on 10th July 2021 at 10:25

That is strange Maureen St Joseph's statue as white as snow, whilst the rest of the building rots. It mustn't be made out of plaster. Perhaps a high quality marble ? I am surprised it wasn't removed from the building after it was vacated.

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh on 10th July 2021 at 11:17

Veronica, I like you thought of the statue of Saint Joseph should to be removed and placed at Saint Jude's its original daughter church, and went to see Father McNally with this in mind , Because it is listed it could not be removed. The last Mass at this church can be found on YouTube ,just type in last mass St Joseph's Wigan, it's very moving.

Comment by: Maureen on 10th July 2021 at 11:23

Thank Irene and Veronica,I don't go to Church any more,life just got in the way..I believe that there was strong talk of it being turned into flats - apartments ,but there was such a huge outcry that the plan was stopped and is now a listed building,so how it will finish up is anyone's guess..I do wonder that if ever it is demolished who will get the statue of St Joseph,I do know who got the nameplate of Great George Street..where..tied to St Josephs my childhood belongs.

Comment by: daveo18 on 10th July 2021 at 11:26

A friend of mine had grand ideas to buy the building to create an indoor climbing centre but he could not get permission due to lack of parking!!! (I believe a large hiking, climbing, cycling store nearby refused to co-operate)

Comment by: Maureen on 10th July 2021 at 11:48

I must admit that even as a child I never understood the reasoning to class people into either Roman Catholics or Church of England.every one is a human being...the same good or bad..

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 10th July 2021 at 12:48

I don't know the church at all but if it is a listed building, how come it has been allowed to get into the state you say it has , anyone know the answer ?

Comment by: Maureen on 10th July 2021 at 13:20

I've seen the video before,it's a pity that it isn't clearer,but it's still very moving..I used to be in the choir as a schoolgirl and would sing the opening hymn ' Panis Angelicus' every Sunday morning and Benediction in the evening,we would sing it in harmony,and it still gets to me..it's a beautiful hymn.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 10th July 2021 at 13:33

The statue is probably made of Portland stone - which gradually erodes - so the dirt and grime from its past has fallen off with a layer of stone. It won't get more than surface dirt from today's pollution - unlike the sticky smoke from the steam engines of the railways and mills.

Comment by: Veronica on 10th July 2021 at 14:29

Helen, more than likely it wasn't being used to the extent it was previously. Plus houses being demolished and people moving on. Yet there are two churches in Standishgate very close to each other and well used because there's still a need for them and the houses around there were'nt demolished. The parish of St Joseph just disappeared leaving it's church behind. It nearly happened with St Patrick's church, but saved at the 11th hour!

Comment by: Jean on 10th July 2021 at 15:04

I remember going to St Joseph’s many years ago to play bingo with my mother in law. Also Irene commented on the two chapels in Ince cemetery I found they are also grade11 listed so who is responsible for these buildings and why are they left to rot away if anyone know’s can you please tell me.

Comment by: Cyril on 10th July 2021 at 15:15

A bit on the history of the church and photos of the vandalised interior courtesy of Wigan Today.
https://www.wigantoday.net/news/you-wont-believe-pictures-inside-abandoned-wigan-church-715572

Comment by: John on 10th July 2021 at 16:13

Is there no appeal process for a building to be unlisted ?

Comment by: Rev David Long on 10th July 2021 at 16:32

Jean, having lived with the two Ince chapels rotting away before my eyes for 16 years, I understand your thoughts - but what priority should the Council (who own the chapels) place on them? With no amenities or services and hemmed in by graves, what could they be used for?
As they were the first public buildings ever built by the famous Architect Alfred Waterhouse (that's why they're listed) - and who went on to build Wigan's Library and Grammar School as well as many major public buildings around the country, including the Natural History Museum in London - they should be the subject of national attention to save them. My own opinion is that they should be dismantled and re-erected where they could serve a lasting purpose.

Comment by: Jean on 10th July 2021 at 18:27

Rev David Long thank you for answering my question about the two chapels.I agree that they have no use anymore but would like to see them made water tight and if the council can’t afford to do that then yes the should be demolished.

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh on 10th July 2021 at 18:33

Veronica, I like you thought of the statue of Saint Joseph should to be removed and placed at Saint Jude's its original daughter church, and went to see Father McNally with this in mind , Because it is listed it could not be removed. The last Mass at this church can be found on YouTube ,just type in last mass St Joseph's Wigan, it's very moving.

Comment by: Mick on 10th July 2021 at 19:23

Rev Davids, Ince chapels with rare black pigeons sat on a ledge

https://youtu.be/oGlMUa3fTFA

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 10th July 2021 at 19:33

I think you have come up with a good idea David...its been done with other buildings of interest in this country.

Comment by: Veronica on 10th July 2021 at 20:35

I think that's ridiculous Tom. It's atop a plinth it could be taken off for safe keeping. I wonder if the very old statue on top of St. Pat's club has been moved. I believe that used to be on top of the first church that became the boy's school.

Comment by: Cyril on 10th July 2021 at 20:49

Rare black pigeons? had they not been caught in a fall of soot Mick, they remind me of the pit men from years ago, full of coal dust and the whites of their eyes very distinct.

You may have seen a snippet on a news channel about a scheme asking developers to recycle the materials from buildings deemed for demolition rather than just flatten them and take the material to landfill, it especially mentioned bricks that had used a lot of energy to fire them in kilns and rather that energy be wasted then to reuse the bricks, but doesn't those reclamation yards still do this, I remember around thirty odd years ago going to such a yard off Little Lane which had piles of used bricks, slates, timber etc. that folks sorted through to buy and reuse.

Comment by: . Ozy . on 10th July 2021 at 21:55

So who actually owns this place ? The Catholic Church most likely, although that's merely an assumption.

But if that in fact is the case , then surely it's up to the Catholic Church to do something about it . God knows, they have enough money.....

It may be evident to some that I'm not a particularly religious person, and that would be a correct assumption, and far as I'm concerned, this building is little more than a heap of bricks, each one piled one on top of the next, but that said, it isn't altogether an unattractive edifice...
But nethen!
... If the convoluted powers of the greater London area can manage to transform Battersea power station into a pleasuredrome, then surely this place could be turned into something useable.

But that would take money, Quite a substantial amount of money in fact......plus....and this is quite important...it would require a modicum of imagination from the planning authorities, whoever those authorities may be.
I've witnessed personally the capabilities of Wigan council and their associated bodies over the years, and I feel obliged to report that given their track record, this fine building may well be destined for oblivion, as Wigan council in my view, as a corporate body would appear to be incapable of fastening their own shoelaces without imposing a stipend on the populace.

And merely for the record, I'm prepared to state that I have very little regard for for the Catholic Church either, as although they most certainly have the dosh, they appear to lack the inclination to spend the stuff.

In fairness though I'm not just targeting the Catholic Church specifically, as I have scant regard for any religious denomination.
The reason being is that
If my information is correct, then a fair amount of the land in this country of ours ( or as they'd have us believe is ours ) is actually owned by various religious bodies.

Millions of pounds worth of real estate,... And yet they're all constantly rattling the can for the church roof fund.
These religious outfits, in spite their preachings about the nobility of the poor appear to me to be incapable of practicing what they preach.

Please feel free to make of that diatribe what you will.

Comment by: DTease on 10th July 2021 at 22:23

Ozy, Dave Allen, the Irish comedian always ended his shows by saying “Good night and may YOUR God go with you”. That’s enough religion for me.

Comment by: The Real James Hanson on 10th July 2021 at 23:03

It was sold years ago. Someone bought it who was in the leasure / nightclub / disco business. I did know who, but I've forgeet.

Comment by: Mick on 10th July 2021 at 23:09

Oh Ozy you could end up in hell when you die for writing that.

Comment by: . Ozy . on 10th July 2021 at 23:12

In that case.. Enough said.

Comment by: John G on 10th July 2021 at 23:34

Well said ozy good statement, and I agree with every thing you have stated. However we must have thoughts for people like Maureen! she and her family loved this church, a profound statement from Maureen said, I don’t go to church now life got in the way.
May be that’s the fork in the road for most people, catholic or any other religion.

Comment by: Veronica on 11th July 2021 at 07:26

We all have our opinions on God and the hereafter - but the Church does not just comprise of A building it will still carry on without the dilapidated structures such as the one above. By that I mean Christianity.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 11th July 2021 at 07:41

The inner business workings of 'the church' in this country amaze me. When we moved to this house it was found that there was a covenant that covered a certain area of the town. Should the local Anglican church need a new roof or other extensive repairs.. the residents of that area would be liable to contribute to the cost. Luckily, we were advised to take out an insurance against being asked to stump up.....a one off payment of £15.
Not that the idea would have been much help for the poor church in Wigan.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 11th July 2021 at 08:13

My other half says...Well said Ozy !

Comment by: Maureen on 11th July 2021 at 12:16

Thank you John G,I too agree with Ozy ..my Mam,who turned Roman Catholic for my Dad often said "there's enough wealth in the Vatican to feed the world"..and having read the book "In Gods name"by David Yallop I'm well aware of the goings on within the churches,even as a youngster seeing the "Pop" van ( Was it Corona) I used to think why
use a pop van to deliver all the whisky crates going into the presbytery..my Mam once choked a priest off because he asked why did my Mam not go to Church..growing up I would go with either my Dad or Grandma who lived near us..but none of us were pious which I still dislike in folk to this day.
Getting back to Ozy's comment,he is correct..I've learned a lot and read a lot..but.....it will never alter my faith,not one little bit,my hubby wasn't like me at all,he was C of E..we were together many years before he passed away last year,and the subject of religion never came into our conversation...bless him.
As for St Josephs Church Ozy,sorry to disagree with you re it being just bricks..I loved the place,I was never made to go to church ever..to me it was just like going to a relatives house to say hello.
One day in my early twenties I got a phone call at work to say my late Brother who was an electrical apprentice ,he was nineteen at the time had been electrocuted fifteen thousand vaults..I ran all the way from G.U.S to St Josephs just to light a candle.
So you see Ozy it was more than just bricks to me.

Comment by: Maureen on 11th July 2021 at 13:52

I must correct myself..it wasn't fifteen thousand (volts not vaults) ,it was 1,500.

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