Blogs & News

blog : Elizabeth Gaskell’s lady’s maid – a dramatic imagining

The background: earlier this year, the House was successful in securing funding from the Arts Council for a collaborative programme of arts activities which included a series of creative writing workshops. These used the current House exhibition, Household Commotion - Elizabeth Gaskell and the 'awful treasure' of her servants, as inspiration for exploring different writing styles and genres. We're so pleased to publish here a character sketch written by Olive Powell (who attended the programme) of Caroline Weiderman, who Elizabeth Gaskell brought...

blog : It’s 27 February 1861 – visiting the Victory!

This is from a letter written to Marianne Gaskell on Thursday 28 February 1862 - a letter started by Meta and finished by Elizabeth while they were visiting a Mrs Lyall at The Close, Winchester Cathedral. Part of the letter describes a visit to the Victory  - Nelson's flagship at the battle of Trafalgar - which they'd made the previous day, on Wednesday, 27 February: On Wednesday, as Meta has begun to tell you, we went to Portsmouth, soon...

blog : Reader, I started writing Jane Eyre in Manchester!

Yes indeed, Charlotte Bronte really did begin to write Jane Eyre in Manchester! And Elizabeth Gaskell gives us much of the story in her biography of Charlotte Bronte. So, what then is the story? By 1846, Charlotte's father's sight was worsening due to cataract growth. Charlotte and Emily Bronte heard of an oculist - what we would now understand as an ophthalmologist - in Manchester who they thought might be able to help him. They visited the oculist,...

blog : The Buckingham Palace Garden Party

Very occasionally something comes along which you know instinctively might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. One of these has recently happened to me, thanks to Elizabeth Gaskell House. A few weeks ago, “The House” was notified that the volunteer team was to be awarded a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is like an MBE for volunteer teams in organisations where more than half the people involved are volunteers. The award was not to be officially...

blog : Thank you, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

When people think of the history of Manchester, they think of soot and smoke, redbrick warehouses and factories. I used to be among them. This fabulous city was after all, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution! However, very soon I was going to find out how much more there was to Manchester’s history. It was a bleary December afternoon and never had I felt more lethargic and sluggish after lunch. Scrolling down my social media feed, all I...