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Convent of St Louis, St Andrew’s Castle, St Andrew’s Street, c1927 - from the Spanton Jarman collection

Convent of St Louis, St Andrews Castle, St Andrews Street, c1927. From the Spanton Jarman collection ANL-160623-141711001
Convent of St Louis, St Andrews Castle, St Andrews Street, c1927. From the Spanton Jarman collection ANL-160623-141711001

Built around 1795 for Ezekiel Sparke – James Oakes’ attorney – when it was known as Sparke’s Castle, George Boby lived here in the mid-19th century.

In 1929, the Sisters of St Louis moved their convent and the town’s Roman Catholic school to the castle. The school originally opened in 1892 adding an infant school in 1894. The building housed the living quarters for the Sisters with classrooms for their school,and was surrounded by gardens and playing fields. The gatehouse remains, while the main house has been adapted for commercial use, with houses and flats on the adjoining land to the north. Some of the buildings in the grounds remain in use as the modern St Louis Middle School.

-- -- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations - a further £2,000 is needed to complete the task. They can be viewed at www.burypastandpresent.org.uk where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/sro.


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