What's On

Exhibition: Tales of Manchester Life – Elizabeth Gaskell’s Manchester

A new exhibition exploring how Elizabeth Gaskell presented Manchester and its people through her novels and short stories, and the impact she had through her writing. Elizabeth was a true radical of her time, but as a woman, the influence and importance of her writing has not been recognised by history in the way that it has for her contemporaries such as Charles Dickens. 

Elizabeth’s writings about the industrial North made a huge impression to her contemporaries, not just for the choice of subject matter, but for the painstaking detail that she went into in classic novels such as Mary Barton and North and South. Her use of detailed descriptions and Lancashire dialect gives us a window into her world, but she didn’t just write about poverty, class divide and inequality, she was an active citizen who wanted to see change.

The research for Tales of Manchester Life has been carried out by a team of volunteers, and to bring their findings to life the exhibition includes interactive features.  There is a map that highlights some of the locations around Victorian Manchester that inspired some of the settings and storylines that Elizabeth pursued: places like the Mechanics’ Institute, Angel Meadows and Hulme Barracks. A cosy, bright and inviting tea party corner is an important reminder from Mary Barton that working-class life during the industrial revolution was not one dimensional.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has received funding from Art Fund with some match funding from Museum Development North West.  The Recovery & Reset grants have been made possible through Museum Development UK’s continued partnership with Art Fund.  

2nd Apr
- 4th Sep 2024

11 - 4.30pm


Mr Thornton is coming to tea

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell