Hull - Southcoates Lane

In 1900, an off-shoot of the Anlaby Road convent was established in Wilton Street where the Sisters taught in St Mary’s School, and a small Convent was built at the junction of Wilton Street and Damson Lane, so that the Sisters no longer had to make the daily journey to and from Anlaby Road.  As well as teaching, the Sisters were soon involved in all the services of those in need – including a House of Mercy – so dear to Mother McAuley.  When the school needed more space, the Dansom Lane Convent was sold to the Diocese and the Sisters sought new premises.

Development of the docks resulted in a rapid expansion of housing west of the city and a great increase in the Catholic population, so the Parish of the Sacred Heart was established.  It was near the new Church that the Sisters purchased the site for St Catherine’s Convent on Southcoate Lane.  The Foundation Stone, laid by Bishop Shine on 3r December 1930, was 780 years old, having been obtained from Watton Priory which had belonged to the Gilbertine Order.  Initially, the dedication was to St Mary of the angels, thus forming a link with a pre-Reformation St Mary’s Chantry Chapel which had been in the region. 

The spaciousness of the new Convent, set in its grounds and with the possibility of enjoying sea air, made a welcome change from the cramped conditions in Dansom Lane, but the Sisters did not reduce their services to that area,;  they continued to each in Wilton Street and to provide all possible hep to the poor and the sick.  They also taught in two City Centre Schools, St Patrick’s and St Wilfred’s, and in the newly built Sacred Heart School, and very quickly became involved in all aspects of life in their Parish.

Proximity to the docks, oil terminals and factories along the Humber banks, made Southcoates Lane highly vulnerable when war broke out in 1939.  Complete evacuation was indicated, so senior members of the Community transferred to Whitby Convent, and teachers and their pupils to safe areas in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.  The empty Convent was requisitioned by an Army Unit for the duration of Hostilities, so there was a good deal of repair work to be done when it was returned to the Community.  While this was being carried out, the Sisters were accommodated in Endsleigh Convent. 

By the mid-seventies, the Convent was too large for a Community considerably reduced in numbers, so the decision was taken to adapt it for a new apostolate – residential care of the elderly.  At the same time, the sale of Endsleigh College to the Local Authority was being negotiated, as the College was destined to merge with five other establishments to form the Institute of Higher Education, later to be a Polytechnic; so funds were available at the crucial time for the conversion of St Mary’s of the Angels to St Catherine’s Home for the Elderly. 

The Home, named in honour of Venerable Catherine Mcauley, was provided in her spirit to meet a growing need of today.  Sisters and residents in St Catherine’s are able to continue their involvement in the life of the Parish, and they, together with the people living in the locality, enjoy the privilege of daily Mass, celebrated in the Chapel by the resident Priest.