To discuss holding your wedding or any event at The Monastery, contact Kate or Fran to arrange a personal welcome tour.

Call 0161 223 3211 or email Kate or Fran now.

We would love you to visit us at The Monastery! You’ll be sure of a warm welcome, and we know you’ll enjoy the time you spend with us.

For more information, click here.

Keep up to date with the amazing array of events we hold all year around.

**The Monastery is open to the public 10am-4pm, Sun-Thu with free entry, parking, secret garden and an onsite café. All welcome!**

Dementia care Manchester: Music Café at Manchester Monastery is in the news

Looking for dementia care in Manchester?

We’re excited to host this new workshop for people living with dementia and their carers.

Music Café provides free weekly music-making sessions created and run by the Manchester Camerata orchestra.

They’re well-known for innovative collaborations and you could hear them playing dance anthems as well as classical orchestral works.

They pop up in all sorts of places. They’re just as at home playing in care homes as they are grand concert halls.

Quick facts

What? Free music-making workshops

Where? The Great Nave at Manchester Monastery

When? Sessions take place on Wednesdays from 10.30 to 12.00

Who? These workshops are for people living with dementia and carers

How? Contact Emma Arnold for more information at

Music Cafe at Manchester Monastery

Music Café at Manchester Monastery

Manchester Camerata’s music workshops at Manchester Monastery give those with dementia an opportunity to reconnect with their love of music.

It’s a joy to see the change in people attending the sessions. A loosely held maraca or drumstick soon finds itself in a stronger grip. Passive or uncertain shaking and beating changes to rhythm finding music-making.

All this happens in the beauty of our Great Nave. A special location for a special event.

Memories of music and movement are rekindled and the friendly atmosphere encourages spontaneity. Perhaps encouraged by the open space, some people find they want to move to the music that fills the nave.

Dancing (at first it was impromptu) has become an important part of the session for some participants.

If you’re a carer, the Music Café is a great opportunity to meet other people. Enjoy a little respite and see your loved ones being looked after too.

There’s plenty of time to get a free cuppa and have a chat with other carers over a biscuit (or two).

The support doesn’t end when the session ends. You can learn how to use music at home to keep the fun going.

Music Cafe at Manchester Monastery

Music and dementia

Research shows that music can provide emotional benefits for people with dementia.

Often, people can remember songs and music learnt many years ago. The therapeutic benefits of unlocking these memories is an increasingly important part of dementia care.

Music is a powerful way to bring people together. It can reconnect people with their loved ones by reducing anxiety and encouraging social and communication skills.

Music therapy can help people with dementia soothe their symptoms.

ITV Music Cafe at Manchester Monastery

‘Simple, effective and often magical’: Music Café on ITV news

After hearing about the high-quality dementia care available at the Monastery, ITV spent the day here to find out more.

Impressed by the quality of the free music-making workshops ITV chose to feature it on the news to spread the word to their viewers.

Watch the news report and read the full story here.

Music Cafe at Manchester Monastery

Manchester Music Café brings joy to people with dementia

The outstanding dementia care provided by the Music Café featured on the BBC news too!

The BBC spoke to Bob Riley, the CEO of Manchester Camerata, to find out more about the orchestra’s pioneering music-based dementia therapy.

He describes the sessions at Manchester Monastery as, ‘All about improvisation, so there’s no right, there’s no wrong and anybody can do it’.

See Bob’s interview and the full BBC report here.

Interested in coming to the Music Café?

Manchester Camerata (based here at Manchester Monastery) plan, create, and deliver all aspects of the Music Café as part of their Music in Mind initiative.

Find out more about the Camerata and their Music Café here.

Or contact Emma Arnold for more information at


Words| Caroline Paige  Photography| Duncan Elliot (unless BBC or ITV watermark)

Book Review: The Greyfriars Players 1937-1948

Subject: Manchester history; Manchester heritage; amateur dramatics.

By Father Agnellus Andrew; reviewed by Janet Wallwork, published 1948 (Historical Reprint Series).

The Greyfriars Players, 1937-1948, Father Agnellus Andrew, Monastery Publications (Historical Reprint Series), 54p, £2.99. First published in 1948. ISBN 978-0-9571484-3-7

This is a book about the Greyfriars Players, written by them, for them and their friends.

The Greyfriars played in many places and made many friends. Even today, people still ask for information about the company and for souvenirs of their work.

Wartime conditions meant their printed programmes were skimpy and austere. They created this book to remind themselves of their origins and ideals and to recall what they hoped were pleasant memories for their friends and audiences.

Monastery Publications reprinted this book so this remarkable story can continue to be enjoyed.

Father Agnellus Andrew was one of the best known and loved members of the Gorton community. He later found fame as a pioneer of religious broadcasting. In 1980, Father Agnellus was called to Rome where he was ordained a bishop and became the Vatican’s head of Press and Broadcasting Relations. He never forgot his days as President of The Greyfriars Players.

Editor’s note: This book is available to buy in our Monastery Shop.

Review: Print Pattern Archive talk

2-minute read

Subject: Things to do in Manchester; Manchester tours; textile history; pattern makers

This week, I dropped into Cheryl O’Meara’s talk on her textile archive and spent a delightful hour in a world of pattern. If you’re in a hurry, scroll down for the quick facts.

A little bit about the archive

The Print Pattern Archive is an exceptional private collection of over 50,000 antique fabric swatches and wallpaper books spanning from the mid-18th century to the 1980s.

Originally from New York’s Garment District, the archive contains handwoven, heritage, conversational, florals, geometrics, mid-century, bark cloths, scenic, heraldic, jacquards, damasks, foliage, novelty, ornate, chinoiserie, juvenile and baroque prints from all over the world. From Japanese silks to beautiful British florals, it’s a treasure trove of historical and global design inspiration.

What I found out

I always take an opportunity to have a look in Cheryl’s archive, to see what creative project she’s busy working on. So, I jumped at the chance to be at her first talk since Manchester Monastery reopened this summer.

The six of us gathered in her small and organised archive ready to immerse ourselves in a world of textile. Perched next to a potted palm, I listened to the history of the archive and wondered how I could recreate just a little of this world.

This archive is all about pattern. For someone (like me) from a rather minimal design aesthetic, it’s very different from the restrained colour palettes that usually surround us.

Cheryl’s archive shelves are a riot of colour and competing patterns. My eye finds it difficult to decide where to rest. Luckily, we have an expert to guide us. It’s beautifully arranged, but uncatalogued. Cheryl’s photographic knowledge of the collection means she can easily find examples of textiles mentioned by my fellow archive visitors.

She gave us a brief tour through the different design histories represented in the collection, whilst we poured over fabric and wallpaper sample books that span over two centuries.

After finding out a little about our group, Cheryl tailored the talk to include our interests. She showed us how she’d hand draw designs to complete a repeating pattern from a modest fabric swatch – removing or adding detail to modernise the design. We saw this process created digitally using Adobe Photoshop and Cheryl showed us some of her latest designs.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the group and exploring the Print Pattern Archive with them.

Print Pattern Archive at Manchester Monastery


What I did next

I’m a small-scale hoarder. I’ve a little stash of vintage and antique prints, engravings, postcards, magazines, and photographs that I like, but I have no plan for. Chatting with the group, I realised these bits and pieces are a modest, disorganised collection that inspired some of my own ideas about design.

At home, I routed through my loft and started to put my ‘collection’ together in one unspectacular, cardboard box. Unsure what to do next, I carried the box downstairs and spent some time leafing through it that evening.

It was typography that caught my eye. Now, my office wall – adorned with beautiful examples of hand-drawn, vintage typography – provides inspiration for inclusive fonts perfect for digital communications.

Who would enjoy it?

I’d recommend this talk to anyone with an interest in design, whether you’re a professional working with the latest tech or a curious tourist (like me).

It will get you thinking about the designs that have influenced you – from your grandparents’ sixties wallpaper to your favourite clothing designer – and rethinking how you can use your own design interests creatively.

Print Pattern Archive at Manchester Monastery

A great insight into how Cheryl turned her fabulous collection of fabrics and papers into a business!

Liz Phillips, textile collector and owner of vintage furnishings biz, Phillips & Cheers

Quick facts

What? Exclusive access and talk with textile archive owner, Cheryl O’Meara

Where? The Print Pattern Archive housed at Manchester Monastery

When? Talks take place on the first Monday of the month at 1pm and 3pm

Who? Recommended for adults and accompanying children aged 12+

How? Go to our What’s On page to book tickets (£10 a person + booking fee)


Author: Dr Caroline Paige




Book Review: Assisi to Gorton

A 2-minute read.

Subject: Victorian Manchester; Manchester history; Manchester heritage; Franciscan history.

By Father Agnellus Andrew; reviewed by Janet Wallwork, published 1938 (Historical Reprint Series).

Assisi to Gorton: A brief record of the work of the Franciscans in England, and especially their work in Gorton, 1861-1938, Father Agnellus Andrew, Monastery Publications (Historical Reprint Series), 108p, £4.99. First published in 1938. ISBN 978-0-95714-842-0

The Church and Friary of St Francis, Gorton – known locally as ‘Gorton Monastery’ – was built by Belgian Franciscans who arrived there in 1861. They engaged the famous church architect, Edward Welby Pugin, and over the next ten years, and with only limited resources, they constructed a magnificent church of cathedral-like proportions.

The church opened in 1872 but work to complete it continued for many years. It was consecrated in 1938 and this book was published to mark that occasion.

It gives first a brief account of the Franciscans in England, from the arrival of the first friars in 1224, followed by the story of their work and achievements in Gorton.

Although the friars left in 1989 their wonderful buildings survive. They now belong to a charity, The Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust, which rescued and restored them as a community, cultural and corporate venue. The Trust reprinted this little book to mark the 150th anniversary of the Franciscans in Gorton.

Father Agnellus Andrew was one of the best known and loved members of the Gorton community. He later found fame as a pioneer of religious broadcasting. In 1980, Father Agnellus was called to Rome where he was ordained a bishop and became the Vatican’s head of Press and Broadcasting Relations. Based at Gorton from 1932 to 1954, he was a charismatic and inspirational preacher. In this history of The Monastery he tells the Franciscan story simply and clearly.

Editor’s note: This book is available to buy in our Monastery Shop.