The Gaskell Collection at Central Library
21st March 2018
I had an exciting, and dare I admit thrilling, visit to Manchester Central Library to meet with Darren Rawcliffe, Service Development Officer, on Monday, at which I was invited into the depths of the library to see their special collection of Gaskell books and letters. As a complete book lover, bibliophile, call me what you will, this was nirvana.
The library’s collection includes almost every first edition of her works (plus multiple editions since), letters, her hand-written music book (complete with a suggestive comment pencilled by William) and books that belonged to her – which she would have read ( and handled) and used whilst living at 84 Plymouth Grove.
You can access the Gaskell collection (about 579 items) via this library catalogue link. You can also request access to see most of the collection – you just need to contact the library and give at least 24 hours notice. Contact details via this link
The most intriguing item in the collection was a book about cat husbandry and Elizabeth had added her own thoughts about cat-care at the back, including what and when to feed your feline friend. We know she had two cats at least at Plymouth Grove- and one was named Cranford – but I quite like the thought of Elizabeth being a cat-lover.
She wrote in May 1854 “And do you know we are to have a kitten all the way from Paris, called Cranford; with very long hair and soft pretty eyes? I wonder if it will understand our English Pussy?”
We hope to be able to bring some of Manchester Library’s collection to the house for events later in the year – watch this space.
House Manager at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House