Saturday, July 23, 2022

St Patrick's School, Royal East Street, Leicester

A year or two ago, while I was caring for my mother, I came across the intriguing fact that there is a derelict Catholic school from the 19th century still standing in the centre of Leicester.

Trouble is, I forgot its precise location and only rediscovered it the other day. So today I got to see the building itself.

St Patrick's School is a fine building standing in the improbably named Royal East Street. I suspect the street used to be longer: the school end of it is a cul-de-sac and the other end peters our in a car park under one of the city's few remaining flyovers.

This building was built as a school and chapel in 1854, with the classrooms occupying the ground floor and worship being held above.

It was built by Joseph Hansom for the Dominican Order of Holy Cross Priory. It was used as a combined school and chapel until the order built its church between Wellington Street and New Walk in 1867. 

Hansom, a Catholic himself, designed the Hansom cab, as well as Lutterworth Town Hall here in Leicestershire and St George's, York.

Lynda Callaghan's The Irish in Leicester blog has some photographs of the interior of the building and says:

Spencer’s Guide to Leicester, 1888, describes the school as ornamental and well-conceived…"there are 500 children in the schools which Dominican Sisters teach. Being so handy and central it harbours children of many denominations who receive the same attention as the large colony of Irish children who crowd the courts and alleys of the district that lies between St Margaret’s and St Marks."

The school closed in 1937, replaced by the current St Patrick's School in Harrison Road.

St Patrick's School is along way from ruin, but it's hard to see what use can be found for it in this location. So for now let's just enjoy it the way it is.

No comments: