A fascinating first-person account of the decline, dereliction, and revival of one of Manchester’s most historic buildings is published for the first time.

Gorton Monastery, the Pugin-designed, grade II* listed former Franciscan church and friary would have been lost forever, if Elaine Griffiths, along with her husband Paul, hadn’t had the vision and commitment to become the new custodians of this remarkable building, and start a project that became an all-consuming labour of love for the next quarter of a century.

To coincide with the 25th anniversary of The Monastery of St Francis & Gorton Trust, the charity the couple set up, Elaine has written a new book, telling the complete 150-year story of Gorton Monastery from the arrival of the Franciscans in Manchester to the Modern Day monastery.

TRUST, The Story of Gorton Monastery, is one woman’s extraordinary journey over 25 years, not only to restore Manchester’s ‘Taj Mahal’ but secure its future. It is a frank, very personal account of the setbacks, despair, breakthroughs and small miracles that changed Elaine and Paul’s life and touched the lives of thousands more.

The 176-page hardback book with more than 300 images, which would sit comfortably on any coffee table, is edited by photographer, sketcher and author Len Grant, a long-time supporter of The Monastery.

Author of TRUST, Elaine Griffiths, chief executive of The Monastery said:

“We simply couldn’t have called the book anything else. It was trust that carried us through these 25 years. We put our trust in the building and the building put its trust in us. I am so grateful to have had custody of this precious heritage site for so long.

As we come to the end of this very important chapter in the Monastery’s history and the dramatic impact of the covid pandemic, the Monastery’s charitable work is more important than ever before. We hope the book prompts happy memories for all those who love the Monastery as much as we do.”

The book’s editor, Len Grant added: “It’s been a privilege to work with Elaine on this important book that documents not only the restoration of a magnificent building but also reflects on its importance to the local community over the decades.

Gorton Monastery is a special place for so many – my own grandparents were married there – and through Elaine and Paul’s unfaltering commitment, it will continue to be significant in many more people’s lives for years to come.”

Priced at £25, the book,  beautifully designed by Len Grant’s long-time collaborator Alan Ward is available to buy from The Monastery’s website www.themonastery.co.uk 


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