St Joseph Complex - again
The St Joseph complex continues to intrigue me. I would like to know how the whole area became known as the St Joseph complex in the first place. And also why there is a St Joseph altar in the Cathedral.
My dates are fuzzy so please correct me as you see fit.
My theory is that after the Portuguese commiunity (Braga) gave the Italian sisters 16 Caine Road, the Catholic Church acquired the whole of the land between the Convent and Glenealy, from Robinson Road to Caine Road.With the intention of housing the Portuguese community who were then being squeezed out from the original quarter in today's Soho.
When the Catholic Church invited the La Sallian Brothers to take over St Savours. School they did and renamed it St Joseph. Why?
When the school got too small they moved to Robinson Road. Why?
I carry on. With all that land, the Church handed IL579 to the Brothers and built St Josephs College in 1882. Gateways of April 9014 says theChristian Brothers 'surrendered' the old building to the Catholic Mission after 35 years.
We have the timeline for extensions for the school, but not for St Joseph's Mansion, or St Joseph's Building.. I din't think SJB was built in 1882, or 1883 or ... The picture of SJC in Robinson Road in 1903 in the 125th Anniversary book has a clear view of the full building with trees in front of it. From the elevation of the picture, it would appear it could possibly have been taken from high up St Josephs Terrace, rather than SJB The 125th Anniversary compounds the problem even more. It says that in 1911 further improvements were made by the laying out of the new recrreation ground. Where? My guess? Where SJB was subsequently built.
From what I can make of the plans, SJ Terrace was actually five terrace buildings. Three or possibly four floors high. (I would hate to have lived in the middle units.) I presume the Church named it as they did all the other buildings in that complex. Why did the Catholic Church name the whole complex after St Joseph? The SJ altar in the Cathedral intrgues me. Does St Joseph's Church in Garden Road come into the equation at some time?
Back to SJB. The SJC Anniversay book says two more blocks were built in 1903, partly funded by the Government. SJB could well have been one of them. And St Joseph House below SJ Mansion? Or would it have been SJ Mansion itself? what was SJ House anyway?
Following the earthquake of 1918 the Brothers moved out, but continued to use the basic three storied replacement on Robinson Road. So the main building would have been pulled down, but there is no direct reference to that. David's extract from the PWD report of 1917 confuses it more with the entry that the school was being converted to residences. It did not say which buulding or that it had been condemmed as a school. That must have been SJB, but when was that built? I contend it was after 1903 hence not as damaged at the southern block and so more fit for conversion.It must have been solid enough if it continued to stand until 1960 something!
I lived in SJB from when I was about three until the war. If you look at the picture of the SJB replacement buiulding, you will see that there are two sets of steps leading down to the forecourt of SJB. That was filled in at some stage but the bottom step was left protruding from the wall. I have a picture of me sitting on that step
Finally a little more mischief. Sarcred Heart School, the Italian Convent occupied part of St Josephs Terrace in 1924 while they built a four room building known as St Josephs Villa next door. Next door?
And has anyone heard of the St Joseph's Terrace Chinese School? Apparently that was at Nos 4 and 5 SJT. That was in 1928.
I thought the whole complex was closely related to the Portuguese community living in proximity to the Cathedral's bells. Had they moved out from SJT by then? I thiink Lawerence Tsui said they moved out of SJ Mansion but I don't remember the date.
Look forward to some thoughts please.