Bringing the House back to life

'Does the drawing room look as it used to do - the piano and your table in the same place... with the books and work on it as of old?'

Charles Eliot Norton in a letter to Elizabeth Gaskell, 1865

Bringing the House back to life

Our aim is for visitors to have the experience of visiting 84 Plymouth Grove as it was in the 1860s, a welcoming family home! 

Elizabeth’s letters and our own research have enabled us to present the 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.

Please feel free to 'be at home' in the rooms, talk, linger and enjoy the experience.