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A miserable, grey, rainy day!  Thank goodness we had this treat in store.  Society members met at Towneley Park’s Riverside Car Park and took the coach to The Monastery, in Gorton, Manchester.  


The Monastery was built between 1863 and 1872 by Franciscan monks who had come to Manchester in 1861 to serve the Catholic community. It was designed by Edward Pugin, son of Augustus Welby Pugin who was involved in the design of The Houses of Parliament (and Gawthorpe Hall!)


It was the fact that it was an iconic Edward Pugin design that, eventually, led to the National Lottery agreeing to consider funding the renovation of the building that had, sadly fallen prey to vandalism, theft and deterioration from time and weather. During a 12 year fundraising campaign, £6.5 million was raised from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English heritage, Architectural Heritage Fund, North-West Development Agency and the European Regional development Fund.  Phew!


In 1997, it was put on the World Monuments Fund List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World alongside Pompeii, Machi Pichu, the Valley of the Kings and the Taj Mahal. This was a milestone in their ability to encourage funding.


The High Altar and the Lady Chapel altar are being renovated after vandalism and stolen treasures such as the Mother Mary Statue and The Crucifix have been returned


The Church itself is truly magnificent - an awe-inspiring and emotive space - our visit coincided with a meditative open day with beautiful background music and pink lighting effects.  The cloisters and quadrangle garden are equally inspirational and work is on-going to complete the full circle of the cloisters plus the installation of a new visitors centre.


Our visit was further enhanced with refreshments in the lovely cafe.

Visit to The Monastery,  Manchester - August 2016