Blogs & News

blog : The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – A new book for our collection

We have recently added a splendid American edition of Anne Bronte’s controversial novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to our collection. The book has been donated, following a crowdfunding appeal, by Bonnets at Dawn, a social media/podcasting duo who regularly discuss the works of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, with occasional detours into the works of other nineteenth century female writers.  Bonnets at Dawn, otherwise known as Lauren Burke and Hannah K Chapman,  have visited Elizabeth Gaskell’s...

blog : Liz Ackerley, Ruskin, and Sketching Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

To celebrate John Ruskin’s 200th birthday, on the 8th of Febuary we had the pleasure of hosting another workshop with the incredibly talented Liz Ackerley. Liz is an urban sketcher with a background in science and landscape design, which has influenced her current artistic projects. She is known for a technique called colour first, in which bold, abstract watercolours are applied to the page before sketching and line work, to create a freer and more dynamic final piece....

blog : Spring Cleaning with our Volunteer Housekeeping Team

On Monday, a few volunteers gathered in the servant’s hall at Elizabeth Gaskell’s house for one of our regular sessions of conservation cleaning. Most of the objects, books and furniture in the house are more than a hundred years old (and some even older) and they need care and attention to be sure that they are preserved and kept in good condition. Conservation cleaning mainly involves bringing silver and brass back to their original shininess, dusting and polishing...

blog : Isabella Beeton: managing Household Commotion!

Isabella Beeton's A Book of Household Management was published in 1861 and we have a copy of it in the dining room underneath the portrait of Mrs Dimmock, William Gaskell's mother.  The recipes in the book draw on the cookery column Isabella Beeton compiled for The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine published by her entrepreneurial husband, Samuel Beeton.  We don't know if Elizabeth Gaskell read and used the book but we do know that she was always concerned about the running of...

blog : Knowing John Ruskin

This is Charles Eliot Norton writing to his mother, Mrs Andrews Norton, on July 2 1857 'One day as we were travelling in Italy, Mrs Gaskell and her daughters and I were talking about the books we would choose if we were shut up in a prison or on a desolate island. At last we agreed to choose one book by a living author, and when it came to Mrs Gaskell's turn to tell us what she had...