Last Saturday we were privileged to have a visit from Paul Griffiths, who together with his wife Elaine, bought Gorton Monastery for £1 and then went on to bring it back to almost its original splendour. Paul told us that the 6 foot Franciscan saints statues that went round the top of the walls had been taken away for salvage and then put up for auction in Sotheby’s. The trust had managed to get them and then due to the state of the monastery the statues had to be put into storage for decades. Now he’s happy to report they’re out of storage and that they’re being carefully restored and will eventually return to their rightful places in the monastery.
Paul then went on to tell us about how slowly but surely they had managed to bring the monastery back from the brink of complete demolition to the magnificent building it is today.
To support the building running costs, and to make sure it remains a working building the monastery is open to commercial organisations for events and meetings and also puts on its own events, such as its Victorian Christmas lunches during Christmas.
We also have a Victorian Christmas experience, where Father Christmas arrives by horse drawn sleigh. Although the sleigh does look remarkably similar to a horse drawn cart the children love it.
Anyway, after Paul had left there was a lot to talk about. After all one of the things he’d asked was what was our 5 year plan. And in reality we knew we didn’t have one. We know what we’d like to do but we don’t have any plans for making the dreams a reality.
Although to give the original volunteers massive credit they’ve achieved a huge amount in renovating the interior of the hall and dressing it as a Victorian might have seen it. And reaching their goal which was to bring the Hall back to the community.
To see for yourself come to our next open day, 19th November, you’ll get a warm welcome and you can see a little slice of Victorian England in Manchester.