Blogs & News

blog : Parthenope Nightingale and Ferns

The blog written by Leslie, a fellow volunteer, which drew attention to the links between Elizabeth Gaskell and Florence Nightingale  reminded me that it was one of the letters to Parthenope Nightingale that gave the garden planners added reason for planting a fern bed in the garden. We knew that the Victorian fern craze (pteridomania) was at its height from the 1850s when Mrs Gaskell lived at the house.  Sarah Whittingham's The Victorian Fern Craze, (Shire publications, 2009)...

news : October at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Manchester’s most famous literary home, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, will be packed to the rafters with eerie events this October, as Halloween brings a terrifying timetable of talks, creepy crafts and scary stories. And Elizabeth Gaskell would definitely approve – she wrote a whole series of ghostly gothic tales. In addition to the Halloween fun, there’ll be a riotous Raucous Afternoon Tea, a Script-writing Masterclass, a chance to meet the author of a new book as part of the...

blog : Open Book – Mrs Gaskell & Me

On Sunday 9 September, I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book with Mariella Frostrup and Nell Stevens.  On the show, we discussed the increase in profile that Elizabeth Gaskell has received in recent years: both from Nell’s own writing and from the re-opening of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester in 2014. This was also a great chance for me to talk about my own PhD research on the use of dialect in Gaskell’s work and in other...

blog : Butts, Leaves and a Shed

It's a quiet time at the moment for flowers in the garden as it recovers from the drought. But the signs are promising; shrubs I thought were dying have produced new leaves and dahlias are showing the beginnings of very delayed flower buds. There are also little delights such as the morning glory and geranium wallichianum. Human activity has not stopped, however; the volunteer gardeners not only weed, prune and plant out for later displays but have also rearranged...

blog : Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Gaskell

In the drawing room of the House , underneath the copies of Richmond's drawings of Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte, we have a print of a popular engraving of Florence Nightingale with her friend Charles Bracebridge - both of them on horseback - which shows them in May 1855 on Cathcart's Hill looking towards Sevastopol in the Crimea. This popular engraving was produced by Parthenope  (Florence's sister) and Lady Anne Blunt from a sketch by Selena Bracebridge. Selena...