St. Joseph’s Missionary - Mill Hill - October 2009

 

St Joseph's Society for Foreign Missions was founded in 1866 by H. Vaughan with the foundation stone being laid in 1869. Work on the college was largely completed by 1871 and occupation commenced soon after. Work on the church began in the same year and it was finally consecrated in 1874. The college was further expanded during both the 1930's and 1960's. As a Roman Catholic missionary devoted to the propagation of the Gospel among unevangelized peoples, it was heavily involved with work in Uganda and in other parts of Africa. We did come across a poster entitled "Mill Hill in the Congo" which would seem to confirm this. The college was closed in 2007 and the site is currently awaiting redevelopment.

 

We gain entrance after dodging some very mobile security and start in the basement. This picture was painted on the wall.

 

 

Plans.

 

 

 We decide to head up to upper levels. It's quite a windy day and there are a few bangs and crashes as the unlocked doors are blown about in the draft. It's a very large building but mostly the same, just floor after floor of small, empty bedrooms off long corridors.

 

 

A view of the bell tower.

 

 

 

Some history, the most interesting find so far. Overall the dormitory parts of the building are disappointing.

 

 

 

So we head down stairs to check the rest of the building.

 

 

Eventually we come across some more large halls and kitchens. One has been deliberately made up to look like a fire has taken place, presumably for an episode of Psychoville. We also found scripts to indicate some parts of Waking the Dead were filmed there.

 

 

The library.

 

 

Down through a series of cloisters...

 

 

 

 ...and we are in the Church; perfect for the fish-eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally we wanted to look inside the bell tower but one of the seccas stationed outside was standing very near the tower, looking bored in the late October sun. We went for it anyway and I felt sure our time had come when we entered, setting off a few startled pigeons and making one hell of a racket. He must have known someone was in there. Maybe he choose to ignore us? Wouldn't be the first time seccas have turned a blind eye to my explores. Who knows? Who cares?

 

 

The "bell" in the tower.

 

The wooden staircase to the top didn't look very well looked after so I didn't look to closely at it. I noticed on the way down as my fellow explorer traversed the centre of the highest set of stairs it bowed down probably a good three or four centimetres.

The angel at the top of the tower.

The view.

A view of the tower and church to the right, taken as we were leaving.

 

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