The large house in the grounds of the Hospice, originally called the Grange, was the home of a local wine merchant. In 1945 it was bought by Canon McShane, a local priest, and became a centre for worship and the priest’s residence until the Broomhill estate was acquired as the site for the new church.
In 1949 the Sisters of the Cross & Passion acquired the property as a Convent and began a school that continued until the 1970’s when the Sisters decided to withdraw from independent schools and focus their resources and energy in an area of greater need. This decision led to the closure of this popular school in Moortown.
The Sisters reconsidered how the site could best be used; an exploration of local needs and a timely Radio 4 programme about care of people with terminal illness seemed to point emphatically to the need for a Hospice. A decision was made, the project gathered momentum and St Gemma’s was launched at a public meeting in Leeds Town Hall in October 1977.
It was a real act of faith given that the Sisters did not yet have the money for the project.