Volunteers are at the heart of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. When visitors come to the House, almost everyone they meet will be a volunteer, whether it’s in the House itself or in our garden. Without this award-winning team, we would not be able to open our doors to the general public.

We’re always recruiting new volunteers. We believe in giving everyone a chance to volunteer with us. Our volunteers come from all different backgrounds and age groups, and they all want different things from volunteering. For some, it’s a chance to gain experience working in heritage; for others, it’s a chance to make new friends. Whatever your reason for volunteering, you don’t need any experience. All we ask is that you’re enthusiastic and willing to learn.

What do our volunteers do?

Our volunteers are needed on our open days, which are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. We have four roles on offer across our House and garden. You can volunteer to do one role or all of them – it’s entirely up to you.

  • Front Desk – Welcoming visitors to the House, checking or selling tickets. We’re currently low on volunteers trained to do this role.
  • Room Steward – Talking to visitors about the history of the House and the Gaskell family, as well as answering questions.
  • Tearoom – Serving drinks and food in our tearoom and selling items from our gift shop. We’re currently low on volunteers trained to do this role.
  • Gardener – Working in our award-winning garden. Note: this role is Wednesday mornings only, and is most suited to people comfortable digging, kneeling, and occasionally lifting heavy things. No gardening experience is necessary and we can discuss any accommodations you might need for this role. If you would like to volunteer in the garden, please tell us when filling out the application form.

What will you gain from volunteering?

We are very flexible, so you can volunteer as often or as little as you like. You’ll be given full training for each role, and there will be extra training opportunities, such as conservation cleaning, a range of talks given by our volunteers, and trips to other heritage sites. There will be the chance to get involved with behind-the-scenes work, as well as helping with events, tours and weddings. You can also claim daily travel reimbursements of up to £5, and we are happy to make any accommodations you might need if you become a volunteer.

You can find out more about what it’s like to volunteer with us here.

How can I apply?

  • For the House – Simply fill out the form below and one of the team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to invite you to a group induction session at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. These sessions run once a month throughout the year on either Wednesdays or Thursdays, so if you can’t make one there will be others!
  • For the Garden – We will be hosting our first-ever gardening volunteer drop-in session on Wednesday 18th May, 10.30am – 1pm. There’s no need to book ahead of time – you can just show up, meet our current gardeners, and learn more about what it’s like to work in our garden. We’re hoping to start running these sessions a couple of times a year, so if you miss this one keep an eye out for another. Alternatively, just use the form below and let us know you’d like to help in the garden.

If you would like to apply another way, or have any questions about volunteering, please email katy@elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk  or phone us on 0161 273 2215.


a whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms

Charlotte Brontë, on visiting 84 Plymouth Grove