Learning Programme

Learning is central to our ethos at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, building on the legacy of Elizabeth Gaskell and her family. Our hands-on approach and relaxing environment means we are an inspiring, sensory and creative space for learners of all ages.

Since the House opened in October 2014 we have been working with schools, artists, and community groups to develop a creative and engaging learning programme. We are pleased to offer a programme of bookable activities detailed below. Whilst each workshop has been designed with a particular audience in mind they can all be adapted for any particular group, age or specific need so please do get in touch with your requirements or ideas for collaboration.

Early Years

Storytime at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

An interactive, story time session inspired by Beatrix Potter, a childhood visitor to Plymouth Grove. Children will play with Victorian toys, enjoy a story in our Period Rooms and take part in a craft activity.

Curriculum areas: Literacy, Art and Design.

Through the keyhole at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House: Who lived in a house like this in Victorian times?

Through a variety of playful and hands-on activities pupils will discover more about Elizabeth Gaskell, her family and her Victorian home. Using Victorian household objects, toys and replica costume pupils will compare and contrast life in Victorian times to today.

Curriculum areas: History, Literacy, Drama, Science.

The Interruptions of Home: What was life like in 84 Plymouth Grove in Victorian times?

Through a variety of historical enquiry and drama activities, pupils will discover who lived in 84 Plymouth Grove in 1860 and what their lives can tell us about the Victorians. These activities are based on extracts from Elizabeth Gaskell’s brilliantly descriptive letters and pupils will bring to life the characters from these letters, using replica objects and costumes.

Curriculum areas: History, Drama, Literacy.

Now and then: Discover how 84 Plymouth Grove has changed through time.

Through exploration using objects and historical documents, pupils will discover facts about the restoration of a significant local history site and the life of Elizabeth Gaskell. Using their history detective skills, pupils will piece together evidence to illustrate the history of the House through different periods in its history.

Curriculum areas: History, Literacy, Geography.

Secondary and Post 16

We welcome visits from Secondary, Higher and Further Education groups. The stunningly detailed period rooms, combined with the story of Elizabeth Gaskell as a writer, public figure and private person provides a unique and engaging visit for learners of all ages and ability.


Book one of our Primary workshops for KS3 and upwards – these hands-on, interactive sessions can be adapted to learners of all ages and support history, literacy and drama.

You can also:

  • Book a self-guided visit on a normal public open day.
  • Arrange a bespoke learning activity for your group.
  • Book a private tour with one of our experienced guides (* Colleges and universities only. Different price applies.)

We can provide supporting material on a variety of topics, including Elizabeth Gaskell and her novels, the restoration of 84 Plymouth Grove and the family life of Elizabeth Gaskell.

Key areas we can support include: Victorian literature, architecture, history and heritage, art and design, tourism and leisure.

Adult and Community

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has a range of informal learning opportunities for people of all ages. We have a monthly Victorian Book Club, a monthly creative writing group, a monthly Victorian Sewing Bee and a weekly ‘Herizons’ creative session for local women. Sessions for Herizons are led by enJOY arts and if you would like more information please contact info@enjoy-arts.org.uk

We also run short courses on various topics from fashion and literature to creative writing. See our whats on page for more information.

For Teachers

We can offer bespoke INSET days with our experienced Learning Team and artists exploring ways to engage your pupils with history, heritage, literature, and design both inside and outside the classroom.

We also have a range of rooms to hire for staff away days and meetings.

Get in touch for more information or to discuss your requirements.

Useful information

  • £3.50 per pupil per booked session.
  • Minimum cost per group £ 70.
  • Accompanying adults free.
  • (Costs may vary for self-guided visits/Private tours for Secondary and Post 16)
  • Max 35 per session.
  • Preferred pupil/adult ratio 1:8.
  • Address – 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, M13 9LW.

Coach parking

The house is on the corner of Swinton Grove and Plymouth Grove. Coaches can safely drop off on Swinton Grove so pupils do not need to cross a road. The house has 3 gates; 1 at the rear of the house and 2 at the front. Coaches should be able to find parking for up to 3 hours locally. They can also park directly opposite the house on Plymouth Grove with no restrictions although there is not a designated crossing for students.

Packed Lunches

We have limited availability in our Servants’ Hall for pupils to eat packed lunches.  Please reserve in advance by phoning 0161 273 2215.


The house has three floors and has step-free access through a side entry ramp. You will need to ring the door buzzer if using this entrance. Usual entry through the front door.
There is a lift to all levels. Please note our lift is not to be used by pupils unless required. Please inform us in advance of any access requirements or additional needs.


  • Coats and bags can be stored in Servants’ Hall as directed.
  • Activities will take place in the Servants’ Hall located in the basement of the house and the period rooms on the ground floor.
  • The first floor is also accessible but is not used during school visits. Please advise pupils not to go to the first floor.
  • There are accessible toilets on each floor.

Health and Safety

  • Teachers and group leaders can arrange a pre-visit to the House in preparation for your trip.
  • On booking you will be provided with a Hazard Identification Sheet to assist with your Risk Assessment.

If you would like to discuss any of the sessions above please contact 0161 273 2215 or fill out the form below


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Elizabeth Gaskell 1863