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Report - Gorton Monastery, Manchester (Before and After)

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by snappel, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. snappel

    snappel BMW 4 LIFE
    28DL Full Member

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    Damon managed to organise a look round the monastery with the people who look after it now. They were very friendly, let us see what we wanted to see and were perfectly happy for us to spend as much time as we liked taking photos.

    For the benefit of those who won't have seen the place/pictures from before it was renovated, I've done a 'before and after' report here. For those interested in some history, this is from my website report from last year...

    The Monastery of St Francis was designed by Edward Pugin and completed in 1867, and was the home to the Fransiscan Brothers. The 100ft high gothic church is a distinctive building with its high bell tower, red and blue brickwork and stone dressings.

    Catholics worshipped at the monastery, and for over 100 years the monastery was a vital part of the local community. After housing renovations in the 1970s, many of the congregation moved away and the monastery fell into poor condition, necessitating the demolition of the front facade of the Friary.

    During the 1980s a fund was set up to help repair the church, but eventually the Brothers had to leave, and by 1989 the monastery was no longer in use. After the Brothers had left, the buildings were sold off for redevelopment, but this didn't work and the monastery was vandalised.

    The 'Monastery of St Francis & Gorton Trust' took over the site in 1996, and their aim is to restore the monastery buildings, and the monastery will finally house a hotel, conference centre and other attractions while retaining the original structures.


    May 2006

    Visited with Damon on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon. The place had been cleared out and scaffolding put up, but it was still in a real state. A lot of the corridors, or 'cloisters', were roofless and practically falling apart. The word derelict described it nicely. At that time work was underway to refit the roof, a top priority before work could begin inside.

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    August 2007

    Visited with a load of the Manchester locals, plus some visitors from other parts of the country. The transformation is amazing. Bits of the building, such as the altar area, are being kept in a semi-original state. Rather than totally redoing it, they want to keep bits as they were before renovation started as a reminder of what the building was like. I think that's a great idea, and the place has lots of character.

    It's shocking that the monastery was allowed to decay like it did, but walking round there now is breathtaking.

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  2. Damon

    Damon Guest
    Guest

    Re: Gorton Monastery, Manchester (Before and After) REPORT

    As usual, rather than have half a dozen threads on the same place/visit I'll just hijack Snappels.

    Having seen the state that the monastery was in just over 12 months ago, it was incredible to see its restoration almost complete. The Trust has really done itself proud.

    Big thanks to all the volunteers at the Monastery for their tireless efforts over the last 11 years, allowing us to visit today and offering every assistance, taking us all up onto the balcony, and putting up with twelve of us wandering all over the place for a couple of hours. This country needs more people like you :thumb

    I daresay there will be better pics coming out of here today than my offerings, but I'll post a few anyway.



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  3. Lawrence

    Lawrence Born With A Beard
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    Re: Gorton Monastery, Manchester (Before and After) REPORT

    Again, a big thanks to Damon for organising this.

    A few of my pics.

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