AHF Support Summary
The AHF first became involved shortly after the Trust was formed, offering a grant for feasibility work. This was followed by further development funding, and a working-capital loan of £700,000 to assist with cashflow for the duration of the restoration project.
New Use Summary
The building is used for a variety of community functions and is open weekly to the public. It also hosts events such as weddings, meetings and conferences, and is a widely-recognised cultural and community venue. All proceeds from these events are donated to the Trust to support ongoing maintenance and conservation work.
What’s So Special About This Place?
The Church and Monastery of St Francis was built between 1866 and 1872 by Edward Pugin. The church was the tallest single storey building in Manchester, and was built largely by volunteer labour from within the local community.
Why did the AHF got involved?
The site had been included on the World Monument Fund’s Watch List of the 100 most endangered sites in the world when the AHF was asked to become involved.
The Church and Monastery of St. Francis, Gorton Lane, Gorton, Manchester
The Monastery of St Francis & Gorton Trust Ltd
Find out more at www.themonastery.co.uk
Why Was The Building Under Threat?
The Gorton Monastery remained an important part of the community for over 100 years but in the early 1970s the terraced housing in the area began to be demolished and the community relocated. In 1991 the complex was sold to a developer who went bankrupt before starting to convert the church into luxury flats. The buildings were seriously vandalised whilst in the hands of the receiver, and anything of value stolen.
How Was It Saved?
The Trust was formed in 1996 with the sole purpose of saving and restoring the Gorton Monastery. It raised funds for the £6½M restoration scheme, and continues to develop the site with a new £3M fundraising campaign for a Welcome Wing, as well as further conservation work.
How Is The Building Used Now?
The site is open for a variety of community events, tours and concerts, and is a wedding and award-winning conference venue.
How Did The AHF Help?
The Trust has enjoyed a long and fruitful association with the AHF stretching back 20 years, and has acknowledged the encouragement and financial support provided throughout this time. This ranged from early-stage feasibility work, to see whether the plan was financially viable, to support during the fundraising stage with other capital funders, followed by a working-capital loan to ensire that cashflow was maintained for the duration of the restoration work.