Gorton Monastery :: Shared Description

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
by Gerald England
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35 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

SJ8796 : St Francis Friary, Gorton by David Dixon
SJ8796 : The Altar at Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery by Gerald England
SJ8796 : The Great Nave, Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : West Aisle, Gorton Monastery Great Nave by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Altar, Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery, St Elizabeth (?) by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery by Gerald England
SJ8796 : The Great Nave at Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery, Manchester by Tricia Neal
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery, Gorton Lane by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Candle in the Window, Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : St Bonaventure, Gorton Monastery Great Nave by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery, Alcove above South End of Great Nave by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery, South End of the Nave by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery by Gerald England
SJ8796 : Spirit of Love by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery Nave by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Great Nave Crucifix, Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery Great Nave, West Aisle by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Stained Glass Window, Gorton Monastery by David Dixon
SJ8796 : The Church and Friary of St Francis (Gorton Monastery) by David Dixon
SJ8796 : Gorton Monastery Car Park by Gerald England
SJ8796 : Building Work at Gorton Monastery by David Dixon

... and 10 more images.

These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Wed, 21 Mar 2012, Updated: Fri, 27 Mar 2015

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2012 Gerald England, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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