Manchester’s Literary Garden Takes Gold in Britian in Bloom Awards

26th October 2023
in news

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Garden in Ardwick has won a prestigious GOLD award in this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom competition within the Small Visitor Attraction category.

The restored garden at the home of the radical Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell, just one mile from Manchester City Centre (part of the Oxford Road Corridor), is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers.

The garden is planted to show the sort of garden that the Gaskell family enjoyed with the choice of plants being informed by references in Elizabeth’s letters and novels, as well as by Victorian garden history. Recent developments in the garden have included a new family garden trail using QR codes, and over the summer families were encouraged to ‘picnic and play’ with Victorian toys such as skipping ropes and croquet out on the lawn.

Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, House Director:

“Achieving a Gold in the Britian in Bloom awards is testament to the hard work and dedication of our volunteer gardening team. Visitors and local residents regularly comment on how beautiful the garden looks, often describing it as a mini-oasis. This award is a fantastic way to celebrate the accomplishments of the team.”

Ann Hodges, Volunteer Gardner:

“The garden has been designed to give as much enjoyment today as it did in Elizabeth’s time and this Gold award in the Small Visitor Attraction category reflects the improvements we have made in recent years to the garden and how visitors use it. The whole team is incredibly proud of the result.”

Group of  7 volunteer gardeners holding the Britain in Bloom certificate

This garden was immensely important to Elizabeth Gaskell, being a place where she could grow both flowers that were a sensory delight and also vegetables for the kitchen. She commented that it was a place where she could truly relax (‘without a bonnet’) away from social scrutiny.

The garden achieved a Silver Gilt award in its last inspection in 2019.

Visitors can learn more about the garden when they visit the House on any Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday. The garden is open all year round and you can find out more about the garden here.

We've got a certainly is a beauty...I must try and make the house give as much pleasure to others as I can.’

Elizabeth Gaskell, in a letter to her friend Eliza Fox in 1850.