The following article appeared in the Autumn 1995 Edition of St. Jude's Journal:
 

ST. JOSEPH'S : CLOSURE DETAILS

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FOLLOWING Bishop Malone's meeting with local Catholics on Tuesday 30th May 1995, and a subsequent site visit by Mgr. McKenna, the Trustees have made the following decisions:

 

May 1995 - Bishop Malone speaks at the meeting.

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That St. Joseph's Church will be closed after the final Thanksgiving Mass there at 7.00 pm on Friday 27th October 1995.
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St. Joseph's Church and Presbytery (now vacant), will then be demolished, taking care to remove intact, and to re-use as far as possible, sacred artefacts of significant artistic or sentimental value. (Parishioners specifically mentioned the Altar Rails, Stations, Organ, Organ-Loft Window and Benches.)

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a) The Art and Architecture Department of the Archdiocesan Liturgy Commission will advise on artefacts.

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b) A valuation will be obtained for all existing furniture.

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c) Storage will be provided for church benches until they can be re-used.
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d) A surveyor will be instructed to obtain tenders for demolition work, including any local bid.

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The Club facility will be retained (provided that safe access to the building  can be arranged), until the future of the whole site is determined. Closure of the Club will have to be considered if the marketing of the complete site necessitates it. (The Trustees note the attachment of parishioners to St. Joseph's Club, both because of its actual construction by an earlier generation of men of the parish, and because it is the home of the first YCW group in England.)
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The Club at St. Jude's will have both bars refurbished through a loan of about 18,000. This loan will be repaid by the Club from the 25% share of barrelage discount granted to it by the parish.
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An architect will be instructed to produce, for diocesan approval, a costed scheme for providing a Meeting Room at St. Jude's Church.

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Arrangements will be made locally for the transport of those parishioners who would otherwise find the journey difficult, to enable them to attend Mass of their choice at St. Jude's.

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The Trustees share the sadness of the priests and people of St. Jude's at the loss of buildings precious to them, but no longer sustainable in the light of local developments.

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The outcome of the parish meeting was noted at a meeting of the Archdiocesan Trustees on 21st June 1995 and preliminary steps towards demolition were commenced. However, on 24th August 1995, without any prior consultation, St. Joseph's Church and Presbytery were pronounced as 'listed' buildings, Grade II.

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As the 'listing' prevented their immediate demolition, it was decided to place the property on the market for sale for alternative use, but, at that time, a purchaser prepared to proceed with a conversion of the property to a suitable alternative use could not be found.

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Subsequently, the property suffered from a number of break-ins and the Parish Priest was constantly having to arrange for boarding-up work. In an effort to deal with the problems, an application was made in 1997 for listed building consent to demolish the church and/or remove the artefacts. The application was refused in both respects.

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As a last resort, the property was offered for sale by auction on 30th July 1997, with certain limits as to potential future uses. It is understood that the purchasers intentions were to convert the premises for use as a restaurant - an alternative considered acceptable by the Trustees.

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Since the auction of the properties, the Presbytery has been converted into twelve flats, which are now occupied, and which, it is understood, are under new ownership. It would appear that the church still belongs to the original purchasers and that it is, once again, "on the market". (This, at time of writing, 29th January 2002.)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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