St Joseph`s Convent

St Joseph`s Convent, Whitby

The Sisters of Mercy were sent from Hull to found a branch house in Whitby in 1884, with the object of taking over the parish school which had opened in 1879. Led by Sr. Mary Evangelista Fearon, their first house was on Prospect Hill. Shortly afterwards they opened a small private school for girls and young boys.

In 1886 a missionary chapel was opened on Church Street. During the week the Sisters ran an infant school for the children at that end of town, and on Sundays Mass was said. The school closed in 1948. A chapel was constructed from the cottages in the yard in 1930, and this became St Patrick’s church. In 1891 the decision was taken to build a convent and school on the new Chubb Hill Road, this was completed in July 1893. It was designed by Edward Simpson, of Bradford, and built by John White, of Whitby. A statue of Our Lady was erected over the then entrance, on the right of the building, in 1897, this was taken down in 1980.

On December 16th 1914 the hospital ship Rohilla was wrecked on Whitby Scaur. Survivors were received into large houses in the area, including Mulgrave Castle, and the Convent Nursing Home.

In 1915 the Sisters completed the purchase of three private houses on Chubb Hill which would form the nursing home fondly remembered by many in Whitby, some of whom were born there. The Home was connected to the Convent by a covered passageway, which the soldiers nicknamed ‘The Dardanelles.’ The Sisters’ work during the First World War was recognised by a Certificate from the Government. The Nursing Home continued after the formation of the NHS, but was closed in 1971, despite many objections.

A wing was added in the 1920s, and a larger chapel in 1930, the work being carried out William Nelson and Sons, of Whitby, who also constructed the large burial vault in Larpool Cemetery. The larger building served the Sisters for fifty years.

In 1974 it was decided to move to a smaller property, and Beach Villa, a former small hotel on Argyle Road, was purchased. The Sisters moved into ‘St Joseph’s Convent’ in 1975. Today it is a nursing home providing care for Sisters from across the country. The old building was sold to an International Language School. It was demolished in 2006 and today is a block of 48 apartments known as Caedmon’s Prospect.