The Board of Trustees

Manchester Historic Buildings Trust (MHBT) was established in 1998, and the following people now sit on the Board of Trustees. Board meeting are held every two months at the house.

The Trustees

Frank Galvin (Chair)

Retired museum curator who worked in various roles for Stockport’s Heritage Service for 32 years and was responsible for eight heritage sites and their collections. Actively involved in the restoration of Eizabeth Gaskell’s House firstly as curatorial advisory, he subsequently became a Trustee in September 2012 and Chair of the Board in February 2015. He is also a Trustee for the Mellor Archaeological Trust and the Bahamas Locomotive Society.

Louanne Collins (Vice Chair)

Her career includes setting up the Statistics collection at Warwick University and assisting in setting up and directing the Macclesfield Silk Museum, firstly as a curator and archivist and finally as Director responsible for four sites. She has also written a number of non-academic publications and is an active member of the Textile Society. She has been involved with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House since the early days of fund raising and has been a Trustee since January 2015.

Janet Allen MBE (President)

The guiding hand behind the preservation and restoration of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. as Chair of the Gaskell Society 1998-2004 she led a group of campaigners who set up the MHBT  in 1998 who went on to buy the house and raise funds for its restoration. She was chair of the MHBT throughout the restoration process, culminating in the successful opening of the house to the public in October 2014. In 2015 she was elected as President in recognition for her work. She has also been a Trustee of the Buxton Opera House, the Spring Bank Arts Centre in new Mills and a Librarian at the Portico Library, Manchester.

Frank Drainey (Treasurer)

Practicing accountant who runs his own company in Altrincham, as well as a north-west based dry cleaning and laundry business. He was initially attracted to working with MHBT via his Unitarian connections. He has been a Trustee and Treasurer since August 2011.

Anne Higgins (Secretary)

Anne joined the board in May 2018 after being a regular volunteer and active member of the Friends of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. During her career Anne was Director of Adult Social Services and a Corporate Director for Trafford Council, and has recently completed a six-year term as a Non Executive Director at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Trust. She held a number of roles including chair of the Charitable Funds Committee and chair of the Quality and Governance Committee.

Jane Baxter

Jane joined the board in May 2018 and has been a regular volunteer at the House since 2014. Jane’s career has included setting up and running a Stained Glass Business, designing panels and decorative lighting for the hotel and leisure sector, and working as a Marketing and Product Development Manager for a window and Door company . She now works freelance in marketing and design for small businesses. Jane is a member of The Gaskell Society, on the Friends of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Committee and is part of the House Research Group.

Alexa Mapplebeck

Alexa joined as a trustee in 2020 and is developing Elizabeth Gaskell’s House’s fundraising strategy. Alexa has eight years of experience in Higher Education at The University of Manchester, most recently seeking philanthropic support for the Faculty of Humanities and the Cultural Institutions (Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, The John Rylands Library and Jodrell Bank). Her current role as Senior Development Officer at the University allows her to work with senior alumni and business people who are inspired by supporting the next generation.

Nick Eyre

Now retired, Nick has worked initially as a solicitor for North American Investment Bank in the City of London before moving on to senior management positions in large, retail financial services and consumer sectors in Bristol and Manchester. He also ran a successful consultancy providing recovery services to the banking sector. He became a Trustee in July 2016.

Mark Pearce

Practicing Architect at Lloyd Evans Prichard and has been accredited in Building Conservation for the past ten years. He is Honorary Secretary for the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association, having being the association’s President in 2014. He is also a member for the Chester Diocesan Advisory Committee, Manchester Diocesan Property Committee and a Trustee of the Hibbert and Gregson Trusts, which contributes to the cost of maintaining Unitarian buildings of historical, architectural or cultural importance. He has been a Trustee since June 2004.

Elizabeth Williams

Worked within education for most of her career starting with teaching English in Finland and finishing as Head of English at Leigh Community Sixth-Form Centre. She was chair of The Gaskell Society from 2005-2011 and gave regular lectures and classes to a wide range of bodies, chiefly on Elizabeth Gaskell and other Victorian Writers. She has been a Trustee since 2004.

Veronica Watson

Ann O’Brien


Vision and Values

Vision: To ensure Elizabeth Gaskell’s House gives pleasure, inspiration and a place to learn for today’s visitors, volunteers and businesses who use the House, and continues to do so for generations yet to come.

We aim to bring the Gaskell home to life as a part of Manchester’s community by;

  • Protecting and promoting the literary and cultural heritage of the House and its visitors
  • Celebrating the life and literature of Elizabeth Gaskell and her relevance today
  • Valuing and promoting the Gaskell family’s role in the history of Manchester and Ardwick
  • Being an educational and intellectual Hub, a place of learning and discovery
  • Supporting local groups, residents and schools to use and value the House and its heritage

The Board of Trustees, staff and volunteer team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House aim to;

  • Welcome visitors and volunteers of all backgrounds
  • Make every visitor and volunteer feel valued
  • Nurture a family and community feeling at the House
  • Be an inspirational place where people can learn and share their knowledge
  • Commit to sustainable business practise that reduce our impact on the environment
  • Embrace our Mancunian identity –be authentic and proud of being part of this great city

If you would like to contact any of our Trustees or are interested in becoming a Trustee please do so via the house address or email

The interruptions of home life are never ending

Elizabeth Gaskell 1863