SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery

taken 10 years ago, near to Gorton, Manchester, Great Britain

This is 1 of 7 images, with title Gorton Monastery in this square
Gorton Monastery
Gorton Monastery
The historic buildings were built between 1863 and 1872 by Franciscan monks who had come to Manchester in 1861 to serve the local Catholic community. Designed by Edward Pugin, Gorton Monastery is considered one of his finest masterpieces. It was put on the World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World in 1997, alongside Pompeii, Macchu Picchu, The Valley of the Kings and the Taj Mahal. This was a milestone that led to the Monastery being recognised internationally for its architectural and spiritual significance and gave rise to the nickname of "Manchester's Taj Mahal".

The Monastery was for some 120 years the hub of religious, social and cultural activity - the Franciscans ran 3 schools, a theatre group, brass band, choir, youth club, successful football teams and numerous other activities for the community - it was sadly vacated by the Franciscans in 1989 and, after a false start for a new use, was left prey to significant vandalism and theft.

Following a 12 year fundraising campaign by the charity - The Monastery of St. Francis & Gorton Trust - which was established in 1996 and still owns the building, a total of £6.5m was raised, which have saved the building from ruin and restored the site.

More information at LinkExternal link
Gorton Monastery
The Church and Friary of St Francis, known locally as Gorton Monastery was built between 1863 and 1872 by Franciscan monks who had come to Manchester in 1861; most of the building work was done by the friars themselves. Designed by Edward Pugin, whose father helped design the houses of Parliament, Gorton Monastery is considered to be one of his finest masterpieces. It was put on the World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World in 1997, alongside Pompeii, Macchu Picchu, The Valley of the Kings and the Taj Mahal. This was a milestone that led to the Monastery being recognised internationally for its architectural and spiritual significance and gave rise to the nickname of “Manchester’s Taj Mahal”.

The Monastery was the hub of religious, social and cultural activity for some 120 years - the Franciscans ran 3 schools, a theatre group, brass band, choir, youth club, successful football teams and numerous other activities for the community. Sadly, by 1989 only six elderly friars remained and the Church closed for worship. The building was sold to property developers who stripped out the Church for conversion into flats. However, this venture failed and the building was abandoned by the developers in 1993. Left unprotected, it became prey to significant vandalism and theft.

The Monastery of St. Francis & Gorton Trust was established in 1996 and, following a 12-year fundraising campaign by the charity, which still owns the building, and grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the Architectural Heritage Fund, North West Development Agency and the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), the site and buildings have been saved from ruin and partly restored to create a weddings, banqueting and special events space, a conference and meeting facility and a cultural and community venue. It is currently only open to the public for general viewing on most Sundays from 12 to 4pm.

The Monastery is Grade II* listed (English Heritage Building ID: 388148 LinkExternal link British Listed Buildings) and in the top 8% of buildings in England. Although known as Gorton Monastery it is actually a Friary as explained in the book "Beggars and Builders - My story of Gorton Monastery", which was researched and written over seven years by historian Tony Hurley, the building's former heritage and tours director (LinkExternal link Manchester Evening News).

More information at LinkExternal link
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SJ8796, 114 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Friday, 5 June, 2009   (more nearby)
Submitted
Friday, 5 June, 2009
Geographical Context
Religious sites 
Place (from Tags)
Gorton 
Date (from Tags)
1861  1989  1996 
Person (from Tags)
Edward Pugin 
Category
Monastery   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 876 968 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:28.1106N 2:11.2505W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 871 972
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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Other Tags
Monastery  Franciscan  Friary  World Monuments Fund Watch List 

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