Bringing the House back to life


Bringing the House back to life

Our aim for visitors is that their experience of visiting 84 Plymouth Grove is that it is 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 furniture is all from the period, the chintz for the curtains and loose covers has 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. The light fittings have all been converted from gas to electricity. Research has identified the original paint colours and the styles of the wallpapers. Loans of items originally from the house, some from descendants of the family, including Elizabeth’s wedding veil, some of her Paisley shawls and miniatures and other original objects are displayed in the morning room, where 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 ad family. Please linger in the rooms, talk, and enjoy the experience.

Manchester Historic Buildings Trust


So how was the House saved?

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. The theft of the lead from the roof was a big setback, but in 2012 the Trust was given a substantial Heritage Lottery Fund grant. This, with other generous donations, enabled them to complete the restoration and to re-roof the House using steel.

Thanks 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.