Early Years 1861-1993

1861-1863 – Franciscans come to Gorton and begin building Friary.

1863-1872 – E W Pugin’s masterpiece of St. Francis Church & Friary built as a Parish Church and Franciscan training centre.

1872-1960s – Gorton Monastery’s heyday – serving the needs of local people  and providing three schools, parish hall, youth clubs, theatre and music groups, choirs, brass bands as well as being the social and spiritual focus of the community.

1970s – Redevelopment of area and demolition of surrounding terraced housing led to re-location of population and dwindling church numbers.

Late 1980s – English Heritage grant of approx. £80,000 to help repair the roof of the Grade II listed Church on the back of major local fundraising campaign.

1989 – Only six elderly Friars remain. In 1989 Church closed and sold to property developers who stripped out the Church for conversion into flats.

1991-1993 – Flat scheme fails, buildings abandoned and receivers appointed.

1993 Onwards – Church and Friary left unprotected. Vandals destroy altars.  Lead, marble and anything left of value stolen. Status of buildings then upgraded to Grade II*  listed.