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, whose father helped design the houses of Parliament, 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 is Grade II* listed and in the top 8% of buildings in England.
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 a 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. This included major grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the Architectural Heritage Fund, North West Development Agency and the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) which have saved the building from ruin and restored the site.
To see The Monastery's before and after restoration images, go to the Trust section...
We are open to the public most Sundays from 12:00 until 4:00pm. Refreshments are available in the Friars Pantry and there is free on-site parking.
Tours, Concerts and Special Events take place every week, please see our What’s On section.
Alternatively please contact the Sales Team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0161 223 3211 for Tour availability and details.
Our office hours are 8:30am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday.