Having been to see the often photographed St Joseph's Seminary , I was intrigued by what appeared to be an abandoned building just a few hundred metres up the road. It was obvious it was abandoned and with some research I found out it was a former Convent which had been empty since approximately 2011.
Conversations with a local man were fascinating regarding this Convent. Apparently it was until its final years used as a storage centre for WW2 equipment including hundreds of unused gas masks. Unfortunately when I went inside they had already been removed and taken elsewhere much to my dismay!
Inside the Convent, not much relgious regalia remained after burglaries took place with thieves taking £4,500 worth of copper piping along with small religious medals, depicting saints and other religious figures along with wooden framed/unframed Our Lady of Lourdes black and white pictures.
Sadly, the proposed new use for the building had to be shelved. It was to be a homeless shelter but due to the extensive damage, was finally demolished and will now be turned into housing.
Wandering around the whole interior was a peaceful experience, the solitude still remained from the function of its former use. The bedrooms bare of personal artefacts, the kitchen areas a scattering of unwanted utensils.
The Carmelite Community of Carcassonne left France in 1901, as so many Religious Communities were forced to do, and stayed temporarily in London. While there, they received a pressing invitation from Bishop, later Archbishop Whiteside to come up North, and they settled for a few years in Lancaster.
The Carmelite Convent in Upholland was completed in 1917 and the first Mass was said on August 15th 1917.
In 1927 the French Sisters returned to France, and it was arranged that the Notting Hill Carmel, London, would take over the responsibility for the Convent and for the English Sisters who remained behind.
In 1936, the adjoining field which was Archdiocesan property was given to the Carmel. With the planning of a gifted Prioress, and hard work by herself and the sisters, with paths and drives being dug out by sterling local volunteers, the field was transformed into a garden, with vegetable and flower beds, orchards, lawns and shrubberies.
The sale of this Convent along with another two, has allowed the building of a super convent. The complex is likely to be the Order's largest monastery in Europe, with accommodation for some 30 sisters in the main building plus others in an infirmary wing. It opened in January 2013.