Slate roofing forms centrepiece of new addition to Gorton Monastery
Iconic: Gorton Monastery. Image by Alastair Wallace (via Shutterstock).
For many years, the Gorton Monastery has dominated part of the East Manchester skyline. If you are coming in from Leeds via Huddersfield, you might see its spire from the train window. Its neo-Gothic architecture and interior is a joy to behold. Adding to its imposing looks is the slate roofing. This is mirrored by the addition of welsh slate to a new extension, the Welcome Wing.
Built on the site of a wing demolished in the 1960s, the Welcome Wing offers a new reception area for its visitors. There is also exhibition space, community and education rooms, and health and wellbeing facilities. It is tiled with 500mm by 300mm Penrhyn Heather Blue County-grade slate. The slates were sourced by HH Smith and Sons on roof pitches of 55° and 24°.
The Gorton Monastery has established itself as a unique meeting venue in East Manchester. Its position away from the city centre is in a surprisingly tranquil spot within West Gorton. Distance-wise, not too far from the city centre – by public transport, car or taxi.
Designed by Edward Welby Pugin, it opened in 1872, eleven years after Franciscan monks arrived in Gorton. It became a Grade II Listed Building in 1963. Before assuming its present-day guise, the monastery’s last service was in 1989. From then on, slate roofing and all, it was empty. A bid to convert the monastery into apartments fell through.
Since The Church and Friary of St Francis was handed to the Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust in 1996, its original buildings have been loving restored. The new extension will be a valuable addition to the community.