In October 1870, Father Henry J Lamon (see “St. Joseph’s Clergy”) was appointed head of the new mission that would soon become the Parish of St. Joseph, Wigan, and it was due to the untiring zeal and great energy of the new Rector that rapid progress was made.
The first service was held on 22nd January, 1871, in a small chapel that formerly belonged to the Primitive Methodist Body, in Caroline Street, but in a very short time the building was found to be too small for the increasing numbers of Catholics living in the surrounding Wallgate area.
Consequently, with the permission of the Right Reverend Doctor O’Reilly, Bishop of Liverpool, Father Lamon purchased some adjoining land to the chapel, at a cost of £500. The old Methodist chapel was then pulled down, and on the site was erected the first church of St. Joseph, which opened in April 1872. This new church was built to accommodate between 500 and 600 worshippers at a cost of £3,000 – a considerable sum at the time.
However, it soon became evident that the new church was totally inadequate for the requirements of the district, and steps were taken without delay for the erection of a more extensive building.
The design of the new St. Joseph’s Church, the one that so many came to know and love, was entrusted to Mr. Goldie, of the firm of Messrs. Goldie and Child, of Kensington, London, and the contract, which amounted to about £6,000, to Mr. J. Wilson, of Wigan, with Mr. Weatherby acting as clerk of works. In 1877, the foundation stone was laid and blessed by the Right Rev. Dr. O’Reilly, and, together, with the adjoining Presbytery for the accommodation of three priests, the church was completed in 1878 and opened on Sunday, 30th June of that year.
The church was closed in 1995 and still serves no use with it’s Grade II listed status.