Johnny Vegas’ old school ‘at risk’

The seminary where Johnny Vegas trained to become a priest is at risk, according to a charity report
The seminary where Johnny Vegas trained to become a priest is at risk, according to a charity report

Johnny Vegas’ former school has been named on a list of Britain’s most endangered buildings.

St Joseph’s Seminary was included on a list of buildings “at real risk of being lost if action is not taken in the immediate future” to save them, according to the national architectural charity, The Victorian Society.

Jonny, real name Michael Pennington, attended the seminary during his brief stint training as a priest during his teenage years.

The 2016 list includes an important, but derelict, Phillip Webb arts and crafts house which was the childhood home of a pioneering female Victorian explorer of the Middle East; a landmark of the Grimsby skyline where structural instability forced residents out of their homes.

Victorian Society’s director Christopher Costelloe said: “This year, for the first time, the Top Ten has no entries from London or the South East.

“We simply got far more nominations from other regions. This perhaps reflects the vastly different financial climate for development in many areas outside the South East.

“But whatever the reason I hope inclusion on the Top Ten will spur local authorities and owners to urgently find solutions for these buildings.

“Retaining historic buildings like those in the Top Ten is vital to maintaining local identity and creating places in which people want to invest, live and work.”

Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society vice-president, said: “The nationally important buildings on the Victorian Society’s Top Ten list are in dire need of help.

“Many of them are in prominent locations in their towns and cities. Following my experience with the Hackney Empire I know how difficult finding funding can be - especially outside London.

“However, restoring important historic buildings is worth investing in as it can be a catalyst for wider regeneration. I hope people living near these buildings will seize this opportunity and campaign to save them.

“Ultimately, it is the support of local people which will ensure that they are not lost forever.’

The full 2016 Top Ten, in no particular order, are:

Red Barns, Redcar, North Yorkshire (Grade II* 1868, Phillip Webb)

Victoria Mill, Grimsby, Lincolnshire (Grade II, 1889 and 1906, Sir William Gelder of Hull)

Old Bute Road Railway Station, Cardiff (Grade II*, 1842, Brunel?)

Old Library, Stafford, Staffordshire (Grade II, 1913, Briggs, Wolstenholme and Thorneley)

Mount Street Hospital, Preston, Lancashire (Grade II, 1872, RW Hughes)

Clayton Hospital, Wakefield, West Yorkshire (Locally listed, 1879 extended circa 1900, William Bakewell)

St Paul’s Church, Boughton, Chester, Cheshire (Grade II* 1876 extended 1902 John Douglas)

St Joseph’s Seminary, Upholland, Lancashire (Grade II 1880-83 J O’Byrne; 1921-8 by Pugin & Pugin)

Rylands Mill, Wigan, Greater Manchester (Grade II, 1865, George Woodhouse)

Oliver Buildings, Barnstaple, Devon (Grade II, 1888, William Clement Oliver)