SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery Car Park

taken 6 years ago, near to Gorton, Manchester, Great Britain

Gorton Monastery Car Park
Gorton Monastery Car Park
In March 2012 the land adjacent to the Monastery car park SJ8796 : Construction Work near Gorton Monastery was a mountain of sand. I was informed then that whilst the monastery wanted to the buy the land for additional car parking it was going to be developed for housing. Passing by today on a bus it appears that the land has been levelled and will indeed be part of an extended car park.
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 )
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Date Taken
Monday, 8 July, 2013   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 9 July, 2013
Geographical Context
Religious sites 
Place (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8772 9684 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:28.0891N 2:11.1871W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8767 9683
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
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Other Tags
Monastery  Car Park 

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