The Manchester home of Elizabeth Gaskell has been open to the public since October 2014, thanks to a major £2.5m restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others. The House now relies on the income gained from admission fees, group visits, room hire and weddings held at the House in order to cover running costs. We are also deeply indebted to our wonderful volunteer team who enable the House is be opened.
Our vision is to ensure Elizabeth Gaskell’s House gives pleasure, inspiration and a place to learn for today’s visitors, volunteers and businesses who use the House, and continues to do so for generations yet to come.
Elizabeth’s letters and our own research have enabled us to present the several rooms as we think they were.
We have very few furnishings that belonged to the Gaskells, but the other furniture in the house is all from that period. The chintz for the curtains and loose covers have been printed from a 1850s design, and the carpets have been specially woven, using Victorian patterns preserved by a mill in Halifax. The fireplaces, sourced locally, date from around 1840 when the House was built and the light fittings have all been converted from gas to electricity. Further research identified the original paint colours and the styles of the wallpapers.
Loans of items originally from the house are displayed in the morning room, some of which are from descendants of the family, and include Elizabeth’s wedding veil, some of her Paisley shawls and miniatures. There is also a short video about the Gaskells and the house.
The books in William Gaskell’s study have all been chosen for their connections with the house and family.
A Large, cheerful, airy house, quite out of the Manchester smoke.
Charlotte Brontë on visiting the House, 1851
We also have an exhibition area, Tea Room and shop selling gifts and a diverse range of second-hand books.
The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust
Manchester Historic Buildings Trust was established in 1998 with the main aim of saving this Grade II* listed building. In 2004, after a long campaign, the Trust acquired the freehold. Their first priority was to make the house safe, by repairing the exterior and replacing the roof. In 2012 the Trust was given a substantial Heritage Lottery Fund grant. This, with other generous donations, enabled them to complete the restoration.
We aim to bring the Gaskell home to life as a part of Manchester’s community by;
- Protecting and promoting the literary and cultural heritage of the House and its visitors
- Celebrating the life and literature of Elizabeth Gaskell and her relevance today
- Valuing and promoting the Gaskell family’s role in the history of Manchester and Ardwick
- Being an educational and intellectual Hub, a place of learning and discovery
- Supporting local groups, residents and schools to use and value the House and its heritage
The Board of Trustees, staff and volunteer team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House aim to;
- Welcome visitors and volunteers of all backgrounds
- Make every visitor and volunteer feel valued
- Nurture a family and community feeling at the House
- Be an inspirational place where people can learn and share their knowledge
- Commit to sustainable business practise that reduce our impact on the environment
- Embrace our Mancunian identity –be authentic and proud of being part of this great city
In order for our unique historic house to remain open to the public we rely on the support of our enthusiastic volunteers, on donations from members of the public and the Friends of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.
We welcome donations of any size to help us to continue to develop and restore this beautifully house. You can make a donation via the website charity.wonderful.org which takes no commission for the service. (please note that the charity is registered as Manchester Historic Buildings Trust)
Thank you to all the funders and supporters
The restoration of Elizabeth Gaskellʼs House was made possible by support and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Bowland Charitable Trust, Cross Street Chapel, English Heritage, The Foyle Foundation, The Gaskell Society, J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Manchester City Council, Oglesby Charitable Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and numerous individuals. Our thanks to them all, and to the many dedicated people, specialists and volunteers, who have made the transformation possible.