Mr and Mrs Blundell of Ince Blundell Hall, Hightown, Liverpool, the original owners of the property, built a summer home here for their daughter who suffered from tuberculosis. The beautiful pine woods and sea air contributed much to their daughter’s full recovery.
In 1915 the Blundells donated the property to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool. Archbishop Whiteside asked a Roman Catholic group of Sisters, the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, to undertake the care of children on the site, under the patronage of St. Joseph. Gradually, the need for a convalescent place for children was replaced by children in need of care.
When war broke out, St. Joseph’s was utilised as an evacuation site for the elderly and children. By 1945 building work commenced on two new wards and a chapel, and when the evacuees left in 1948 the Sisters once again cared for convalescent children. The Home closed for a number of years when the need for convalescence declined, then opened again in 1957, focusing on children with complex needs, both physical and mental. This work required specialised equipment and generous friends worked hard to raise funds to purchase what was needed.
By 1965 a new Convent for the Sisters was added, and a Chapel. By this time there were about 60 children living at St. Joseph’s. Further progress was made when, in 1971, plans were laid to provide for the educational needs of the children. In 1977, this programme extended to the provision of a new hall/gym, new kitchen and physiotherapy unit. Ten years later, government changes meant that children under 19 years of age must be placed in the care of the community, so, in 1987 the school finally closed its doors and the children moved to their new homes. After much prayer and discernment it was agreed that St. Joseph’s would welcome adults with profound disabilities into its care. Of course this required extensive rebuilding; by 1990 the new project was officially opened on May 1st.
Further developments in 1996 saw the opening of Fernley, a purpose built Day Centre catering for a total of 60 adults each day, both residential and others visiting for the day. The hydrotherapy Pool and conservatory complete the services available.
In 1999 the sisters decided to open the Convent as a Prayer Centre, open to the public, and for anyone who wished to spend some quiet reflective time in a lovely location.