The Monastery’s new £3million eco-friendly ‘Welcome Wing’, with building and restoration work due to start next month
The Monastery of St Francis & Gorton Trust, the charity that owns the E.W. Pugin-designed former Church and Friary in east Manchester, is building a new front wing for the 150 year old Grade II* listed buildings, on the footprint of an original building taken down in the 1960s.
It will provide flexible, purpose-designed and carbon-neutral space, allowing the Trust to expand and extend its facilities and projects for the local community and general visitors, while continuing to host corporate and private events.
With building work expected to be completed this year, it is anticipated that the Welcome Wing will open to the public early in 2017.
Restoration and conservation work in the Great Nave will also see floors repaired, altars stabilised and paint schemes protected and conserved.
The work will be carried out by HH Smith & Sons, a family-run business based in Whitefield near Bury. It was founded in 1955 and employs 80 members of staff, all who live locally, and have served an average of 10 years with the company.
Elaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Monastery Trust said: “HH Smith is a Manchester-based company and local employer with an outstanding track record. We are very impressed with their experience and knowledge, and their approach and values mirror ours. This is the biggest investment we have made in the building since we completed the major £6.5 million restoration work to save the Monastery in 2007. We believe we have found the right partner to deliver our much-anticipated Welcome Wing and realise our long-held ambition to ‘Open Every Day for Everyone’. We will remain open for business as usual and will continue to hold our free open days, so visitors and clients can view the work in progress.”
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North-West said: “Gorton Monastery is already a hugely significant landmark for the people of Manchester and is a well-used community space. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will significantly add to Gorton’s already impressive offer by helping create the new Welcome Wing and allow the continuation of urgent conservation works. This project demonstrates how a heritage building, while providing an important link to a community’s roots, can also be adapted for the needs of today.”