VISIT US

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, Sunday to Thursday each week. Free entry & parking. All welcome!**

Job Vacancy: Wedding & Special Event Co-ordinator

The Monastery Manchester is looking for an exceptional Wedding & Special Event Co-ordinator for our award-winning venue. Competitive Salary plus incentive scheme/depending on skills and experience.

The Monastery operates as a community charity, a heritage visitor attraction and a weddings and special events venue as well as being an educational, training, cultural and community venue with a spiritual sanctuary and wellbeing centre. We have an exciting and varied programme of events and visitors… so no day is ever the same!

Who we are

The Monastery of St Francis & Gorton Trust owns this precious heritage site, it is a registered charity and building preservation trust set up in 1996 to save, restore and find a sustainable new use for E W Pugin’s architectural masterpiece, known locally as Gorton Monastery.

The significance of Pugin’s derelict site led to its listing by the World Monument Fund in New York as one of the “100 Most Endangered Sites in the World” and led to its nickname as Manchester’s Taj Mahal. The Trust is now in its 25th year with an award-winning track record as a wedding and events venue.

Who we’re looking for

We are looking for an exceptional and experienced wedding & special events co-ordinator who will assist the Senior Sales & Event Coordinator by generating new business for the Monastery.

Your key responsibilities will be to deal with website, email and telephone enquiries. You will convert these wedding enquiries and special event leads into bookings. From that very first contact you will nurture and develop a friendly and professional relationship with potential clients to ensure that they have the best possible experience when holding their wedding or event at the Monastery.

You will need to be someone who loves working with people who is efficient, organised and good at making things happen. Above all, you must truly enjoy the wedding environment and be self-motivated to do well for themselves and the charity owned Monastery.

You will be working with a wide range of clients and liaising with catering and event partners as well as sharing the building and working alongside community, charity and trusted partners who deliver health, education and outreach projects.

What it’s like to work here

We are a small, friendly and highly motivated, inclusive, hands on and happy team with a big vision for our Modern Day Monastery to thrive and serve its highest possible purpose for our clients and our community.

We’re a passionate bunch and we enjoy learning from each other. We thrive on change and love working in such an inspirational and unique site. We are all keen to do good and to put something back into society. We make sure we support others through our community and charitable partnerships.

Many roles at The Monastery are customer and community facing, with all teams working hard to make everyone feel welcome and valued while we maintain superb standards of service. This is an opportunity to make a real difference in the widest sense and to become a valued member of our Monastery team.

The skills you will need

To be successful in your application for the position of Wedding and Special Event Co-ordinator you will need the following skills in your toolkit;

  • Be a meeting & events professional with a minimum of one-year event sales experience in the hotel/venue/hospitality industry.
  • Enjoy working and dealing with the public and being part of a team
  • Be confident, pleasant and a good communicator, able to stay calm under pressure
  • Be efficient, organised and self-motivated
  • Have strong presentation and interpersonal skills
  • Have an excellent command of the English language
  • Be able to demonstrate your progress, success and achievements in a steady career path to date
  • Be computer literate with an understanding of Microsoft Office, databases and a knowledge of venue booking systems
  • Have high standards in your work and client correspondence
  • Have a flexible approach to working as the hours for this role may include some weekend and evening working
  • Have a strong eye for detail to ensure the client expectations are exceeded
  • Have strong organisational and multi-tasking skills to match the variety of meetings, activities and exciting events that may take place each day
  • A high standard of personal presentation
  • Understand the importance of maintaining a professional outlook with clients and visitors.

About the Monastery

As a multi-purpose heritage site owned by a charity, the building is available for exclusive hire every Friday and Saturday and after 4pm most days. The venue is operated by its trading subsidiary The Monastery, Manchester, a winner of over 30 prestigious UK & International Awards (including Best Manchester Wedding Venue 2021).

All proceeds from events are donated to the charitable trust to support the maintenance and upkeep of this precious heritage site as well as our charitable and community projects in education, skills, arts and health.

The Trust’s 4 pillars of work are: Heritage & Culture; Health & Well-being; Ceremony & Celebration; Wisdom & Consciousness.

Our Modern Day Monastery

An extraordinary place to visit
A sanctuary with a heart full of peace
An architectural wonder
And an intellectual feast

To find out more about The Monastery and our work please follow us!

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Email for applications please: trust@themonastery.co.uk 

Help restore organ music to The Monastery and catch a glimpse of heaven

Subject: Manchester history, Victorian Manchester, Manchester heritage, Manchester music, organ restoration, British history, conservation.

Words | Dr. Caroline Paige  Photography | Len Grant

An 8-minute read

There’s nothing as soothing to the soul,
than the tones of an organ of old.
By whispering a prayer with celestial sound,
we catch a glimpse of heaven around.

Anonymous author

We’re getting ready to fundraise for the next important chapter in the restoration of our much-loved heritage site.

The Church of St Francis has been lovingly (and painstakingly) restored. It has taken twenty-five years of fundraising and conservation to reinstate the fallen roofs and repair fragile masonry. A feat many thought impossible! The buildings were made watertight. The interiors restored and reorganised to support the needs of a heritage and community venue. The car park and an impressive new wing added. Now the original, decorative paint schemes are preserved. The crucifix saved and returned. And, the 12 larger-than-life statues of Franciscan saints – unique to The Monastery – are back standing gloriously regilded in the Great Nave.

So, what’s left to do?

There’s still an integral part of the site missing. Its 1888 Wadsworth organ.

Music has the power to raise our spirits and can lift our hearts and minds. It’s a source of inspiration and provides a soundtrack to our lives stirring memory and emotion. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to reinstate an 1880s Wadsworth organ and fill the church with the music it was designed for.

Gorton Monastery’s organ was dismantled when the church and friary were sold in 1989. The organ pipes were probably sold for scrap. The organ loft has remained empty. We hoped one day an opportunity would arrive to put this last missing piece of The Monastery back where it belonged.

Gorton Monastery organ

History of the old Wadsworth organ

In 1888, Father Aiden decided it was time to invest in a new organ more suitable for the size of the building. He began fundraising. That same year, Gorton celebrated the magnificent, new organ with a special service. A distinguished Franciscan organist, Father Augustine d’Hoole, travelled from Glasgow to play the organ. Many at Gorton thought their lay brother, Brother Raphael, was a musical genius at the organ and equally talented to Father Augustine.

‘Fr. Aiden wanted a new organ. There was a three-day bazaar in May 1888 and on 15th July the Solemn Opening of the new Organ took place with a distinguished Franciscan organist, Fr. Augustine d’Hoole, OFM, being brought from the Friary, Glasgow, for the occasion. There were many that thought the laybrother, Bro. Raphael, a genius in the kitchen, and also an inspired genius at the organ and the regular organist for many years, could have easily compared with Fr. Augustine. But there it was.’

Excerpt from Father Justin McLoughlin’s book, Gorton Monastery 1861-1961

Organ music was at the height of fashion. They were not only found in churches and chapels (as we tend to think of pipe organs today). They provided musical soundtracks at theatres and music to sing and dance to many fashionable houses.

The organ was built in 1888 by Wadsworth & Brother, a Manchester firm of organ builders set up by Edward Wadsworth in 1861. Born in Chorlton in 1839, Edward was the son of an estate agent. He trained as an apprentice organ builder and soon decided to set up his own business. A ‘sound’ decision during a period of huge growth for organ manufacturing.

Wadsworth manufactured over 1,000 organs during their 85 years. Most made for the parish churches of North West England. Today, only a small fraction of these organs exist. As church attendance declined in the 20th century and churches closed, many organs were dismantled as sold as scrap. Just as happened here at Gorton Monastery.

Manchester Monastery organ loft

A new organ for Gorton

We have fabulous opportunity to return a Wadsworth organ – and its magnificent music – to the Great Nave at the Monastery.

In 2020 during the first Covid lockdown, our CEO, Elaine Griffiths, was contacted by David Emery the organist and treasurer at Patricroft Methodist Church in Eccles, Salford. His church had closed and David was trying to find a new home for their 1884 Wadsworth organ. The organ was originally built for Trinity Church, which stood on the same site. It’s only four years younger than Gorton’s and is almost identical in size and specification.

The organ restoration

The organ was kindly gifted to us, with only a requirement to pay for its removal from Patricroft and its installation in Gorton.

We obtained expert advice, about the practicalities and cost of moving the organ, from George Sixsmith & Son organ works in Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne. The Patricroft organ was originally installed and maintained by Cyril Wood of Ashton-Under-Lyne. When Cyril died, George Sixsmith (who once worked for Wadsworth) acquired his business and continued to maintain the organ.

Once dismantled, the organ will be restored and repaired. It’s in good working order – Wadsworth organs were built to last! But, we must take the opportunity to make relatively small repairs necessary for an instrument’s ongoing maintenance and to clean and restore it to its full glory.

Patricroft Methodist Church in Eccles, Salford
The organ at Patricroft

To fit our organ loft, the organ needs to be rebuilt and reconfigured. This won’t affect the way it sounds – it will just change the way it fits the space. This is no mean feat with over 800 pipes!

Excitingly, this also gives us the opportunity to add modern playing aids – if we can raise enough.

This would allow us to play the organ from the nave and to program it to play music arranged digitally. We’d love to program the organ to play uplifting music at the same time every day for our visitors to enjoy!

We need to raise £100,000 to reinstate the Wadsworth organ and return its rich music to the Monastery.

Its music can be a powerful instrument of mediation and celebration. It can bring joy, soothe our grief, and move us to think differently. Its power – delivered through over 800 hand-rolled pipes – can stir our deepest emotions.

To my eyes and ears the organ will ever be the King of Instruments.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

1884 Wadsworth organ

Ways you can help us to bring organ music back to Gorton Monastery.

Please help us to reach our target of £100,000. We’ve already raised £27,000 thanks to some generous donors.

Buy our book

All proceeds from the sale of our latest book, Trust: The Story of Gorton Monastery, go to the appeal. You can buy your copy from the Browse our Books section of our website or by clicking here.

Donate online

It’s super easy for you to donate using our JustGiving donate button.

Fundraise for us

You can fundraise using our JustGiving page. You can find it quickly by clicking here or visiting https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/monastery-organ-appeal.

Raise awareness

Help to spread the word about our fundraising.

Do you know a community group who would like this project? Does your company want to sponsor the organ restoration?

Thank you for helping to support our appeal. You’re helping to bring the music back to the Monastery.

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