Czero Orphanage Andy Marshall 1
Photograph by Andy Marshall

Work progresses at derelict Preston orphanage

CZero Developments and Buttress, the team behind the restoration of the grade-two listed St Joseph’s Orphanage in Preston, is close to submitting an application to convert the derelict site into family homes.

St Joseph’s Orphanage was built on Mount Street, Preston, in 1872 for Roman Catholic girls. In 1877, the St Joseph’s Institute for Sick Poor, also known as the Mount Street Hospital, was added to the site. The hospital closed in 1982, and then operated as care home from the mid-1980s until 2003.

Having stood empty for more than a decade the site has been vulnerable to vandalism and lead theft, which has resulted in water ingress and fire damage in some areas. Recent investigations have revealed that the historic buildings are extensively infested with dry rot and large parts of the site are too unsafe to enter. Plans to deliver residential developments at the site previously were not progressed, due to issues with viability.

Czero Orphanage Andy Marshall 2

Photograph by Andy Marshall

Work is progressing to clear out and stabilise the buildings in an effort to salvage as much as possible. The stabilisation work will also allow the team to gain greater access to the site so that they can undertake further condition surveys.

Simon Linford, founder of CZero Developments, is working with the owner of the site, a private individual. He said: “We are used to dealing with difficult buildings, but this is about as bad as it gets. However, the buildings’ position in the city, and the very positive attitude of the council, gives us the confidence to tackle the project and do something really good.”

Stephen Anderson, director at Buttress, added: “The St Joseph’s Orphanage site occupies an important place in the history of Preston. Sadly, after years of exposure to the elements, the fabric has severely deteriorated.

“Our job now is to find a positive solution for the site and its future use. Our proposals will seek to sensitively retain the site’s most important historic elements within the redevelopment so that they are secured for generations to come.”

CZero and Buttress also worked together on the restoration of the Unitarian Chapel on Upper Brook Street in Manchester, which was converted into student flats in 2017.

Discussions with Preston City Council are currently taking place and the team is aiming to submit a planning application early this year.

Czero Orphanage Andy Marshall 3

Photograph by Andy Marshall

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What an unspiring story your pictures tell Andy. How good it would be if the next chapter was one of hope. It would give heart to the people of this place…

By Janet Brady

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