Tales of the Urban Explorer: St Joseph’s Orphanage

Yesterday I heard some lousy news that St Joseph’s Orphanage was on fire. A little investigation confirmed this. For some time this famous exploration has been more accessible, it was inevitable.

The TourBus has been visiting regularly more recently, and I had been hearing rumours that it was being demolished but it seems my info was not completely correct and that work is yet to start.


There is some history provided in the link above so I won’t provide much here. I was intrigued to read that George Formby died in St Joseph’s in 1961.

’September 2021’

"This place is cursed for me", I mumbled while snaffling on a cheap Greg's Sausage roll.

I was bemoaning @andiotexplores who had recently done the Orphanage at least twice very recently and was nursing a rib injury thanks to this exploration.

"I know the way in but it's a motherfucker and I'm not sure if you will want to try", he said also munching on a cheap roll.


A year before I had tried to access St Joseph’s Orphanage and been busted by an over-zealous Security Guard. He hadn’t even been part of the Orphanage security but had told myself and @dizzydiscovery to take a hike in no uncertain terms.

"There's a hole"…

Sure enough, there was and not where we would expect. Surely it could not be this easy?

Ignoring a startled passer-by, I clumsily attempted to straddle my leg through the gap making way too much noise, and disappeared through the hole.


The impenetrable façade was broken, we were inside and in the depths of a murky cellar.



Talk about grotty and navigating the catacombs. We may as well have been in some old tomb, the tomb of grot that is.





A little writing in the form of 'Fire Exit' told me that humans might have once existed this far underground and if we persevered we might eventually find a way up.


NuAire is not happy at all. You are not getting your money back they say!




The corridors went on and on and it was some time before we saw anything of interest.



If many kids lived here, then they would need some hefty washing machines to clean their stuff.



The front looks OK, but what happened to the sides of these monsters?




I would guess that's an industrial-sized clothes wringer, complete with dusty dials.


Plenty of old clothes left if yours are getting a little frayed.



… as well as the obligatory footwear.



It was a little grotty down there, to say the least.

We walked some stairs and @anidiotexplores pointed me to the Mortuary room. "It's easy to miss if you don't know where it is", he explained earnestly.

There’s little left of Jesus Christ once attached to the cross. Bits of him have been pulled off and scattered.


The heavy slab you see was lifted by some arseholes around 2 years ago and dropped cracking it. The ‘slab breakers’ were publicly chastised within the Urbex community during this time.

It was a case of… ‘it was him, not me’. I remember it quite well.


The plastic flowers have been left as a remembrance of its former glory… I guess.


We were not alone in St Joseph’s Orphanage. Voices could be heard and then they were gone. Not unearthly voices but other humans. I suspect they got a case of the willies and bolted as we didn’t get a visual.


Up another flight of steps and I saw one of the highlights. They remind me of 'The Fighting Machines' from Jeff Wayne's 'War of the Worlds' for some reason.


An unearthly scream of ‘Oooolaaaa’ would have sent me running for cover. The tall skinny 'legs' are what mark the resemblance.



St Joseph's Orphanage was huge inside, and extremely derpy. I was thankful for @anidiotexplores' guided tour even though it encompassed jumping through windows onto outside roof areas at times.



The externals from inside looked dramatic and I loved the gothic mini-towers used in abundance that adorn St Joseph’s Orphanage.



Some renovation work had been attempted sometime in the past, and subsequently abandoned.





The upper floors of the Orphanage offered long drops of death for those who would get too close to the edges.




These tiny rooms were once used by orphaned children. One upper wing contained many, with slanted roofs all in terrible condition such as this.


In later years the Orphanage was used as a hospital. Much evidence remains still for all to see.



Decaying equipment left for decades accompanies the portable beds. Switches were so simple then, they went one way or the other.


Don’t ask me what was in the biscuit tin. Sheer blackness encompassed the interior and I visibly shook while witnessing its contents.



I wonder if George died in this room? What a banjo hero he was.


Those are the feet of @anidiotexplores, not a ghostly apparition. I don’t do ghosts and spirits and have not met one yet.


There are zero intact windows at St Joseph’s Orphanage, that’s a famous fact.


Long creepy corridors are numerous.




The glass window told me we were closing in on the chapel, or what's left of it.



A full church, minus all the fittings resides in St Joseph’s Orphanage. During the 19th century, England was extremely religious.


The view from the upper balcony affords the best view.


… along with some crappy graffiti.



Several areas of St Joseph’s Orphanages allow one to go outside and admire the view.



Getting lost could easily happen. The number of stairs, corridors, twists, and turns was numerous.



People have to sign the walls... as if I give a fuck.


Road signs inside were novel. It was a little congested in the area so I would say it deserved its place.


The corridor was particularly congested with junk as well as the obligatory shopping trolley.



Is it cool to throw things down the lift shaft? Better that stuff than you.

At the end of a very creaky carpeted corridor, where the carpet was sinking alarmingly below my feet I discovered an office.


Mr. Gornall had better pay his taxes. They don't appear too high and all seems in order.


A year before his chartered accountant had tried to ditch his client. What’s going on here then?


This was the only room I could find with any paperwork worthy of snooping upon.

Eight years later and Mr. Gornall is using the same accountant. They must have kissed and made up.


A hefty pension awaits, it's little wonder he was not particularly bothered about the closure of St Joseph’s Orphanage.


Both leaving and entering the 'hidden office' was challenging, the carpet was sinking and little was below it. @anidiotexplores chose to not enter the room stating it as 'too dodgy'.


We headed back down the corridor spotting a pile of mattresses that could be well used for the homeless. Yet we saw no signs within.


It’s a little beaten up but quite a classic.


You would never guess this used to be a hospital.


St Joseph's Orphanages' famous courtyard where a caravan once stood housing a bored security guard. The caravan was burnt, and the guard escaped.


The front entrance; It can be scaled if you are an expert climber and have a natural resistance to rusty barbed wire.


When you find gravestones within a property you know you are somewhere with past significant history.

I was intrigued to know about the 'old access point' and @anidiotexplores was only to willing to show me. This would have been my access in 2020 if Mr. Nosey Arse Cunt had not been… a nosey arsed cunt.




I could have managed the climb at a push.


Once up, one had to scramble through here...


… and then work your way up through all this shit to emerge in the hospital wing.

It would be like a zombie emerging from the depths...


"You are fucking kidding me, man, you came this way?"


He did and did not die. That scramble through the shit may have been too much for me. I mean I am getting more daring (and stupid) as I get older but… WTF?


I knew we were coming to the end of our St Joseph’s Orphanage explore as @anidiotexplores pointed out one last section to me.


If there's no penis pictures, its not a real explore.



This was lathered with more graffiti than anywhere else, and peppered with nature in some rooms.




Occasionally I feel I am giving away too much information within my writings about access points.


I have to remind myself that my visit was 8 months prior, security has been abandoned, every explorer on the planet has already visited, and whoever visits now has likely very easy access.



This is what happens when the TourBus arrives. Does it matter anymore?


St Joseph’s Orphanage is due to be demolished. It has already been torched, ‘the fighting machines’ are likely no longer there and what you see here does not exist in this format anymore.

Slowly we are losing the best explores. I want to visit them while I can, and before they are gone.


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Joeys is so fucking big, some good stuff there. the next generation of umbexers will have missed out due to the fucktards who destroy these places.

crazy, creepy, and awesome as usual with your posts of this sort. I'll ask what I always do: Were you breaking the law by being in there?

Were you breaking the law by being in there?

No.., we walked in through open access. It's trespass and that's all. Not a criminal act in England.

great to hear. it's amazing that you can find so many of these wonderful places where you are. I have tried here and perhaps it is just a language barrier but I get chased off every time i try to enter.

Gosh, it's really so stunning on the outside and some of the features like the trusses and chapel are lovely. It boggles me how buildings like this fall into such disrepair. The interior is proper minging though, no wonder it's being demo'd. Great explore, always enjoy your posts

proper minging

That's an old term or at least here it is! Have you got some Brit blood?

The one was huge and daunting. I was fully expecting to fail and then was inside. We must have been in there a good hour, that's a long time for us. It's generally 15 mins at the longest!

Stunning architecture, I loved the old gothic look about it. Very Dickensian.

Haha I was using it kinda ironically. I used to live in the UK for six years, some of which was on a travellers site or two as well, so at the time 'minging' and 'right minger' was definitely a thing :P My hubs is English and I do have Brit blood in my but doubt my Yorkshire grandparents would have said it ahah!

Yes, Dickens came to mind due to the orphan aspect of it! It must be quite the thrill to duck into these places, and feel like you've stepped into an alternate time zone. Do you find a little sadness in there too?

I used to live in the UK for six years, some of which was on a travellers site or two as well, so at the time 'minging' and 'right minger' was definitely a thing

I thought I detected something. I rarely hear the phrase in todays world.

It was also in Somerset/Bristol which can have it's own idiosyncratic phrases and lingo as you know. Definitely not something you'd hear everyday on Hive. Maybe I'm the first to say it on this Blockchain? 😂🤪

Looks like a huge place. They don't build them like that any more. The medical equipment is interesting. Was it an x-ray machine with all the dials? Ought to be in a museum. Places like this are likely to disappear soon unless they get done up. Some fire bug will destroy them otherwise.


I'm not sure what the old dial machine was, but it looked interesting. It could be that all this has now gone. My report was last year and I hear its full of yobs now smashing things up. Then the fire happened just a few days ago. It will be gone soon.

That one looks like it'd take gazillions to repair!

ugggghhhh abandoned orphanage even sounds creepy. I'd be running out of the place

If I see these I do the opposite.. run inside!

It's amazing that it sat empty that long. Prime Real Estate like that usually gets flipped to a developer a lot quicker than that.

Very cool explore. It would have been interesting to see it 150 years ago. The building looks like it has good bones. And many stories to tell.

It's in a city centre as well, close to the railway station. One of the more interesting places I have been.

It's such a nice looking building from the outside and so chaotic on the inside. The way things look so haphazard makes it look like it was abandoned quickly although I suppose in reality it happened over time.

Becca 🙃

Wow! This is such an impressive church! For the life of me, I cannot see why it was abandoned! They just don't make them like that anymore.

I am so glad you got in before it was torched.

They sure are taking them down faster than you can get into them!

Look at the towers on it! Great shots!

They sure are taking them down faster than you can get into them!

They are, I missed the Swingers club in Staffordshire. It's gone.. and I didn't get there fast enough. Bummer!

Haha! Poor you! :) I'm sure there is another one where that came from!

The cheap Greg's Sausage roll. Sounds like the best energy booster to emback on this giagantic exploration of Aintient brick walls

The cheap Greg's Sausage roll.

If it's cheap, can be eaten while walking.. then it's good for us.

How beautiful a very beautiful vintage building looks from the outside, but when you enter my God what a disaster, although I don't know how you could have had the courage to enter when they told you it was cursed, There are always stories of orphanages I don't know why, it's scary knowing that there are children who are in those places, because there are always stories and they even put out movies hahaha but well you dared and that's spectacular, I've been looking here where I live for a place like that to play a song with my violin, but until now I have not achieved anything similar, although on second thought I do not know if I would dare to enter hahahahahaha

That looks like an epic outing - thanks for sharing, @slobberchops

It is a shame that it is going to be demolished. It is part of history and needs to be preserved. I was glad to see the vandals had not destroyed the stained glass in the Chapel. I can only hope that it can be saved.

the vandals had not destroyed the stained glass in the Chapel.

I wouldn't count on it being like that now. For years it was formidable access into St Josephs. It's probably a walk-in now.

That is sad

A classic spot is rapidly going downhill now.

I think the washing machines might have only belonged to the kids who lived in the room.

They lived underground then, not a nice life!

A really great exploration. Thanks for sharing.

Such a creepy place. aesthetic photos! Goosebumps from watching =)

Sorry to know it was on fire. Even if it was an abandoned building, it's sad to know that. The architecture if this building is fantastic, here we don't have something similar. Sure, it looks a little creepy and it could be a perfect place for some ghost stories, but I'd like to have something similar to explore close to me. :)

I rarely feel creeped out in these places. It's having a partner come along.. it makes a difference. Last Saturday I soloed a Hospital, that was a different experience but still not too creepy. You get used to it.

Holy shit, what a find. That building must have been glorious in it's day. It still is, in a strange way. A shame to see it get that way. A bigger shame to see the turntable/phonograph/radio left to rot. My soul aches for it.

A bigger shame to see the turntable/phonograph/radio left to rot.

There was a few items left, and not completely smashed. It may well be gone by now. My visit was from last year.

What a beautiful building - its a shame to see it in this state - and worse to see it demolished.

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Wow very beautiful

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