Friendship, Inspiration and Scandal at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

17th July 2019
in news

“My Dear Mr Ruskin….” Friendship, Inspiration and Scandal, John Ruskin and the Gaskell family opens on 18 July 2019 at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, exploring the friendship between The Gaskell family and John Ruskin in a new year-long exhibition as part of The Ruskin Bicentenary.

This new exhibition, at Elizabeth Gaskell’s home in Manchester, takes us from the studios of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Italian grand tour to legacies in education and social reform, showing us that the often-overlooked contributions of Ruskin and the Gaskell family, continue to the present day.

Often at odds with their contemporaries, John Ruskin and Elizabeth Gaskell were controversial writers, often sharing the same ideals. Elizabeth openly took sides when Ruskin’s wife, Effie, left him, commenting in a letter that “…She really is very close to a charming character; if she had had the small pox she would have been so.”

This exhibition has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, and will share the heritage of John Ruskin with families, community groups and visitors to the House over the next 12 months.

Family craft sessions will be running every Wednesday throughout the school summer holidays with activities such as weaving, cloud drawing, making lavender bags and drawing nature.

A number of the city’s institutions, including Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, are collaborating to present events and displays to mark his bicentenary during 2019 as part of the Festival of Ruskin in Manchester.

This exhibition is included in admission to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. The House is open to the public every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 11am-4.30pm. Family craft activities will run every Wednesday 1-3pm from 24 July – 28 August. Admission £5 (£4 commissions), £1 per child for family crafts. See the website for details.


Notes to editors

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, at 84 Plymouth Grove is a Grade II* listed property, was built around 1835-1841 and is a rare surviving example of a suburban villa. The Manchester author lived in the House with her family from 1850 until her death in 1865. Her two daughters lived at the house until 1913.

The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust was established in 1998 with the primary aim of saving Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and runs the House to this day.

The House is open to the public every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 11am-4.30pm and for private tours, room hire, events and weddings on all days.

Opening times: Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 11.00am-4.30pm (last admission 4pm) Ticket prices: £5 Concessions £4 Tickets valid for re-entry for 12 months

84 Plymouth grove, Manchester, M13 9LW
Twitter: @GaskellsHouse
Facebook: Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Private Tours by special arrangement – £12 per person (includes tour, tea/coffee and cake)

The House is available for weddings and room hire on all days.

Second-hand book sale held every second Sunday. Included in admission.

Festival of Ruskin in Manchester

Ruskin in Manchester will celebrate the legacy of John Ruskin (1819-1900) in Manchester, in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of this visionary thinker, with a programme of public events taking place across summer 2019. As an artist, writer, social reformer, philanthropist and ecologist, Ruskin’s is a legacy that shapes our world and lives in so many ways. Whilst Ruskin was troubled by the pollution and poor working conditions he found in 19th century Manchester, he would come to have a strong association with the city and influence the changes that took place to address such issues. Supported by the Guild of St George (the education charity founded by Ruskin in 1871) and Manchester Metropolitan University, Ruskin in Manchester will see cultural organisations across the city partnering to explore the world of Ruskin through exhibitions, talks and activities. All of the listings forming the programme for Ruskin in Manchester will appear on the national websites: and


About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

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Further Information

For further press enquires, images and interviews, please contact Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd on 0161 273 2215

Possibly the best second-hand book shop in Manchester

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