Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Oral History project 2024

9th January 2024
in news

Were you involved in saving and supporting Elizabeth Gaskell’s House before it opened in 2014?
Would you be willing to share your memories as part of an oral history project?

As part of our 10-year anniversary celebrations, we are looking to collect oral history recollections from people who were involved in saving and restoring Elizabeth Gaskell’s House between 1990-2014.

We would also like to speak to any University of Manchester students who lived in the House when it was the home of the International Society, to share their memories of the House before it was restored.

For more information see below.

Please contact if you would like to get involved or if you have any questions.

Oral History Project

What is Oral History?

Oral history is a method of conducting historical research through recorded interviews between a narrator with personal experience of historically significant events and an interviewer, with the goal of adding to the historical record.

Why is Elizabeth Gaskell’s House doing an oral history project now?

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House opened to the public in 2014 following years of hard-work and fundraising from an incredible number of people, and thanks to a major £2.5m restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others.

2024 will be the 10-year anniversary of being open and the team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House want to make sure they collect personal recollections and memories from those who were involved, before its too late to do so. Many stories about the house pre-2014 haven’t always been formally recorded and this is an opportunity to do so.

Funding for this project has also been made available by the University of Manchester this year to enable this project to go ahead.

How will the oral history be collected?

Individuals will be interviewed by the artist and academic Sarah-Joy Ford at a convenient time to be arranged. Whilst we would prefer to do the interviews in person, we may be able to do some remotely via Zoom or on the telephone. The interviews will likely take between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

You will also be asked to sign a consent form which will explain exactly how your details and the recording or your voice will be saved and where it will be used in the future.

What will happen to the recordings?

Your recollections will be recorded, edited and saved as an MP3 file.

Files will be saved by Elizabeth Gaskell’s House as part of their archive for use in potential future exhibitions and engagement activities. Copies will also be saved in the Greater Manchester Sound Archive at Manchester Central Library and we may wish to share with other partners. Data security processes will be in place to ensure the safety of any data recorded.

How do I get involved or ask further questions?

Please email

a whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms

Charlotte Brontë, on visiting 84 Plymouth Grove