The Catholic Directory for 1876 has the following entry:

Under the patronage of His Lordship the Bishop of Shrewsbury. The Convent of Holt Hill is situated at the distance of one mile from Woodside Ferry, and has spacious pleasure-grounds attached to it. The pension, including all the branches of a solid English education, with French, is £24 per annum. Music, singing, drawing, and dancing are extras. There is also a day-school for young ladies in connection with the Establishment.

Science Lab at Holt Hill, c1905

In 1897, when the need for a Church at Tranmere end of Birkenhead became apparent, the playrooms at Holt Hill were turned into a Chapel on Sundays where people from the area could attend Mass. The Chapel was called St Joseph's and was the forerunner to St Joseph's Church in North Road.

The first recorded Baptism in the parish of St Joseph's took place in Holt Hill Convent Chapel in 1898.

The Study at Holt Hill, c1905

Initially the day school and the boarding school were kept seperate. In 1901 a large new building was put up to meet the demand for places, with the opening of the new building, the two schools were combined. In 1903 the school was recognised as grant-earning secondary school by the Board of Education.

With the convent firmly established at Holt Hill, plans were drawn up for a new chapel, work started in 1907. Although the chapel was completed and in use, it would be another seven years before the furnishing and decoration were complete.

In July 1914 the Blessed Sacrament was moved to the Gym, the chapel walls were painted a delicate shade of blue with a darker dado, the organ was stripped and cleaned, a high arched reredos was installed, this stretched out on each side to two columns crowned by copulas. In niches in these columns statues of Our Lady on one side and of the Angel Gabriel on the other.

The 1905 report by HMI speaks of the buildings, 'which are situated on a high and healthy position', as excellent; the apparatus and equipment as very good; and living accomodation and provision for the comfort and recreation of the pupils being all that could be desired.

In 1932 the boarding school closed to provide more accommodation for the day school, by 1937 there were 308 pupils.


Holt Hill

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