Friends of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

You can also help support Elizabeth Gaskell’s House by joining our Friends group.
Since 2004 The Friends group has been supporting the rescue and restoration of 84 Plymouth Grove and continues to play an active and vital role in raising money to maintain and develop the House and Garden. By becoming a Friend, you will be contributing towards the preservation of this important Manchester Literary Treasure for future generations to enjoy.

You can join the Friends for a minimum contribution of £10 per year
(£5 students/unwaged)

As a Friend of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, you can enjoy the following benefits:
• Regular newsletters.
• Priority notice of forthcoming events.
• The opportunity to attend Friends-only social events and meet like-minded people.
• The opportunity to volunteer and participate in the running of the House, the garden or special events.
• Supporting special projects and new displays.
• Learning and opportunities through talks and lectures.
• Visits to other historic buildings.
• Access to special interest groups – research group, conservation cleaning group.
• Sharing a love of Elizabeth Gaskell and her works.
• The opportunity to support the beautiful home of the Gaskells and ensure it continues to thrive.

The friends are members of the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust and are invited to the annual AGM.

Please consider joining The Friends of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and becoming part of an enthusiastic team of people who are passionate about preserving one of Manchester’s Literary Treasures.
You can join the Friends for a minimum contribution of £10 per year
(£5 students/unwaged)

You can download the application form below and email or post it to us, or you can join online Here

EGH Friends Application form

Or contact 0161 273 2215 or

Upcoming Friends’ Events

House events and Friends’ events have been moved online for the foreseeable future; this means that during this emergency our income has been greatly reduced as we can’t welcome visitors on open days. We will, therefore be relying more than ever on Friends’ fundraising efforts and your support for events at the House, when it eventually re-opens. 

Online Piano Recital

Saturday 20th March 2021, at 7pm.

Our good friend and celebrated pianist, Claire Vane is giving an online recital from her home in Cambridge. Claire intends to perform at the House, just as soon as conditions allow, but in the meantime, she has made this very generous offer, of hosting a performance online via Zoom.  She is kindly doing all this completely free of charge, so we are able to ask only £10 to listen to the concert and to hear music that the Gaskell’s themselves would have enjoyed, all in the comfort of your own home.

Claire was born in Manchester and was a Saturday Exhibitioner at the Royal Northern College of Music. She was taught by the last of the Clementis and, over the last six years, by Warren Mailley-Smith. Claire holds a Trinity College Performance Diploma and performs for a variety of charities. A Human Resources Consultant by day, while she enjoys consulting to help individuals and organisations release their potential, Claire’s great passion is the piano and she only plays pieces she loves!

Claire will perform traditional classical pieces by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Schumann.

Booking via Ticketsource

A Visit to Tabley Old Hall: an Online talk by Sarah Webb

Saturday 22 May 2021 at 4pm

Join us for a journey back in time to around 1910, just sixty years after Elizabeth Gaskell and her family moved into Plymouth Grove. Tabley is not far from Knutsford and we know, from her letters, that Elizabeth spent many happy hours of her childhood there, with her cousins and friends.

Using old photographs, maps, engravings and magic lantern slides, Sarah takes us down from the main Georgian Tabley House over to the island where Tabley Old Hall sat. The script is slightly whimsical, with strict rules which we must obey, from the then owner, the fearsome Lady Leighton Warren!
We explore the whole house, upstairs and downstairs and even the kitchen ….and there’s a shivery ghost story to share. The talk ends with images of the now ruined Old Hall, which Elizabeth used in some of her writing. Come along and see where!

Sarah is a trustee of the Tabley House Collection, a Friend of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and a member of the Gaskell Society. She regularly gives talks to local history societies.

Tickets are £5.50
Booking via Ticketsource

Past Friends’ Events

The Poetry of Humble Life

On 22 February Friends’ members and their guests enjoyed an “entertainment of readings” giving glimpses of working-class life from working-class poets, with a short background talk about the poets by Anthony Burton.

This was preceded by a humble lunch, including traditional “clap-bread,” as mentioned in Mary Barton, and regional cheeses accompanied by Grasmere gingerbread and traditional fruit loaf.

Friends’ Christmas Social

We got into the Christmas spirit at our Friends’ Christmas social on 30 November with a full Drawing Room for the Christmas carols, shopping for Christmas gifts and the ever popular second-hand book sale. It was a great opportunity for Friends’ to catch up with each other over mulled wine and mince pies in the Tea Room and the House volunteers had been busy putting up the Christmas decorations to add to the festive atmosphere.

Florence Nightingale -An Illustrated Talk by Aled Jones

It was all about Florence Nightingale on Thursday October 3. Elizabeth Gaskell was a friend of Florence’s sister, Parthenope, and she was also acquainted with Florence. We have a lithograph of Florence in the Drawing Room which was given to Elizabeth by Parthenope and Anthony Burton gave us an insight into the background of this picture prior to the main talk.

After a supper of vegetable chilli, Aled Jones gave an in-depth talk exploring the woman behind the legend of Florence Nightingale – her background, her motives and her struggle to lead an independent life, her rise to fame as “the lady with the lamp” and her success in public health reforms.

July 2019. Visit to Brantwood House in Coniston – former home of John Ruskin.

June 2019. Friends’ Open Day. Talks and tours showcasing the latest objects and developments in the House and the Garden.

March 2019. “Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and Me – The Interior Restoration.” A talk and tour by Dorian Church, curator, about the interior refurbishment project at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

I think we shall be great friends. Mrs Hamley to Molly Gibson in Wives and Daughters

And we've got a house. Yes! we really have

Elizabeth Gaskell, 1850