The Monastery, in Gorton, the magnificent Grade II* list heritage building, one of Manchester’s most significant historic buildings will open its doors for the first time on 2 August 2021 after nearly 18 months.
Members of the public will once again be able to visit the former church and friary, once listed by the World Monuments Fund, alongside the Taj Mahal, as one of the world’s top 100 most endangered sites of historic interest.
Since the lockdowns and closure in March 2020, the Monastery has been able to survive thanks to the support of its volunteers as well as government loans, furlough and grants from the Heritage Emergency Fund and the Cultural Recovery Fund.
As a result of this long period of closure the Monastery has made many changes in the way it operates, and will be reopening its doors as a ‘Modern Day’ Monastery ready to serve the city of Manchester more than ever before.
This precious sacred heritage site will be back at the heart of the community once again providing a wider range of opportunities, events and activities for everyone who may want to start going out again and being sociable, but in a safe and gentle way.
The Monastery’s magnificent Great Nave with its stunning architecture will be open to visitors to enjoy from 10am until 4pm every day from Sunday to Thursday. The café, visitor facilities and shop will be open and entry and parking is free.
Elaine Griffiths, chief executive of The Monastery said, “The Monastery is a jewel in Manchester’s crown as an architectural treasure and is still incredibly significant as one of Manchester’s most spiritual sites. This building has been part of the community for over 150 years so it was devasting to have to shut the doors to the public.
However, this period of closure has given us time to reflect on what this building is about, and we are turning the focus back onto supporting the community in as many ways we can. Health and wellbeing will be a core of everything we do. We will still hold weddings and corporate events, but they will be limited to just Fridays and Saturdays (or after 4pm on all other days). The rest of the week we will welcome people in, to enjoy the space and take part in a range of activities which will lift the spirits.”
Every day at 12pm there will be The Hour of Silence, either held in the beautiful Great Nave, with its unique healing energy, or in the intimate private chapel or sometimes alfresco, in our soulful, healing gardens. Guests can stay for as long (or as little) as they like. No booking is required and all are welcome.
Elaine explains, “Whether you have faith or not, this is an open space for you to find yourself and locate your own, inner peace. The Silence is simply a place where you can recover the stillness and beauty at the heart of your being. Being in silence and peace is incredibly healing, a rest from the fast pace of modern life and a time to slow down.”
The ever-popular Taste of the Monastery tours will return every Monday at 10.30am and 2pm which can be pre-booked and are priced at £6 per person. This is a chance to learn more about the buildings fascinating history, the secrets it holds and the story of how it was saved from dereliction.
On Tuesdays there will be Dance for Wellbeing. Anyone can join in this fun class to groove and tone. Dance can boost memory, improve balance and flexibility, encourage strength and fitness, help lose and maintain weight, and increase confidence and self-expression.
On Thursdays there will be Infinite Tai Chi classes at 10.30am. This is a beginners’ class to learn to relax and to experiment moving mindfully without worrying about whether you are getting the moves exactly right. Priced at £5, the classes are gentle to make sure every person feels comfortable whatever their level.
For more information on the full summer programme visit the website.