Gaskell House Blogs

A Victorian Christmas: Festive Events at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

2nd September 2022
in blog, Events, other

Please note that these events took place in 2022 but recordings are available. Please see the link to our Frequently Asked Questions for more information FAQS.

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year…’ A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843

Celebrate the Christmas season with our two special talks about Victorian traditions. The Victorians loved the festive season and created lots of the traditions we know today including Christmas cards and seasonal literature. So join us with a mince pie from the comfort of your own home as we settle in to look at ninettenth century Christmas literature and weird and wonderful Victorian Christmas cards.

Online Talk: Christmas Literature

Recorded December 2022

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year…’

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the best known and most loved of all Christmas novels with its tale of Scrooge’s seasonal redemption through Christmas Past, Present and Future. But as we step into Christmas, Anthony Burton explores other nineteenth century Christmas literature including decorative gift books and special issues of magazines. He shares Elizabeth Gaskell’s contributions to this snowballing avalanche of seasonal writing and looks at some fine festive stories. Join us in the comfort of your own home for the book-lovers’ perfect Christmas treat!

Online Talk: Victorian Christmas Cards

Recorded December 2022

Perhaps you spread a warm Christmas glow with cards showing Santa and candle-lit Christmas trees? Have you thought about sending season’s greetings with talking vegetables, creepy cats and rotting robins? Perhaps deforestation in colonial Australia or evil Christmas puddings are more your style? The Victorians loved the festive season and created a new tradition of sending Christmas cards by important illustrators such as Kate Greenaway and Alice Havers. Victorian cards often included the bizarre and creepy with everything from murderous mice to feisty frogs marking the season. So, just why were Victorian Christmas cards so odd? Dr Emma Liggins and Dr Rachel Dickinson celebrate the weird and wonderful of this most Victorian of Christmas traditions.

This event was run in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections Museum as part of a project to promote and celebrate some of the 32,000 cards from their Laura Seddon Collection of Victorian and Edwardian Greetings Cards.

A Large Cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke.

Charlotte Brontë on visiting the House, 1851