St Mary's Convent church, Leeds (Grade II*-listed, 1852, Joseph Hansom & W Wardell (chancel & transepts added 1866 by E.W. Pugin))
In a disused plot of land next to a high school just outside central Leeds, the imposing Grade II*-listed St Mary’s Convent church is a sight to behold. Closed as a church for almost 30 years, it has had various planning applications attached to it – including an approved residential conversion scheme in 2007 – but nothing has come to fruition. Urban explorer photographs show very dilapidated interiors, though much of the detailing and stained glass seems to have survived. Such a beautiful building in a prominent location deserves much more than being left to rot. Pictures are here.
James Hughes, Churches Conservation Adviser at the Victorian Society, said: “I was really shocked at the condition of St Mary’s church when I visited just last week, and reportedly the interiors are no better. Realistically that is what thirty years of neglect will do. It’s such a stunning building, Grade II*-listed for its architectural interest - only 5.8% buildings in the whole of the UK have that honour, and this is the state it’s in? And what’s more confounding is all the new developments surrounding it, and the school next door – it’s surrounded by life but it’s just been left to rot, it’s heart-breaking.”