New season of events announced for September to December 2017

4th September 2017
in news

Wednesday 20 September 2017 – This Merikay Way: Lancastrian poetic commentary on the American Civil War during the Cotton Famine

Informal lecture given by Dr Simon Rennie from the University of Exeter followed by Q&A. Tickets £8.

 The Home Life of Elizabeth Gaskell

This four week course explores the home life of Elizabeth Gaskell, covering her house, her beloved garden, the Gaskell Family and the servants who kept the house running.

Tickets £8 and each session will run from 1-3pm on Thursdays and includes entrance to the house and tea room.

The House (28/9/2017)

Check out the financial basis of life at 84 Plymouth Grove. Appreciate Victorian taste in interior decoration, and Elizabeth’s own taste. Find out how the bedrooms were arranged.  Follow Elizabeth in her shopping expeditions for the house in Manchester and London.

The Garden (5/10/2017)

Learn how the Gaskells developed their garden, and how it relates to domestic horticulture in Victorian Manchester.  Enjoy a tour of the garden and its plants.

The Gaskell Family (12/10/2017)

Consider the roles of Elizabeth and William as wife and husband, mother and father.  Find out how the four daughters were educated.  Enjoy a dramatic presentation of the dynamics of family life among the Gaskells.

The Servants (19/10/2017)

Discover the daily routines of Victorian servants, and find out who the Gaskells’ servants were.  Focus on Will Preston and his family: a letter to him was recently discovered in the old stable block.  Smile at some jokes about the Victorian ‘servant problem’.

The cost per session is £8 or £30 for all four.

Wednesday 11 October, 6.30-9pm  – Qaisra Shahraz, The Concubine and the Slave Catcher – SOLD OUT
As part of the Manchester Literature Festival Elizabeth Gaskell’s House welcomes prize-winning British-Pakistani author Qaisra Shahraz in an evening hosted by Libby Tempest, Chair of the Gaskell Society. Tickets are free, advance.

Sunday 1 October, 11.30am – Watch North & South / Dress Up Day

Visitors are encouraged to grab a bonnet or a top hat to watch North & South, the 2004 BBC TV adaptation starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage.

In celebration of Elizabeth Gaskell’s birthday (29 September) Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is showing this well-loved adaption in the house for the first time and to make it even more special they are encouraging all visitors to don a bonnet or dress up in Victorian costume.

Visitors can stay for the whole four hour series or pop in for an episode or two. House admission plus £1 for the screening

Wednesday 1 November – English through Creative Writing course

Intermediate or advanced English learner can practice their English composition and writing skills in a fun and relaxed environment. In this class the tutor Liam Starkey will deliver exercises in creative to writing designed to expand students’ range of expression and stimulate right brain thinking, well-being and relaxation. Feedback and advice on spelling and grammar will be available.

Class cost £7 per class. Book all three classes for only £15.

1, 15, 29 Nov, 2.30 – 4pm

Thursday 2 November – Celebrating Charlotte – A Talk from the Brontë Society

The Brontë Society is delighted to announce the publication of a new book to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë. Written by Christine Alexander and Sara L Pearson, Celebrating Charlotte Brontë: Transforming Life into Literature in Jane Eyre is an exploration of how Charlotte took inspiration from the art and objects she encountered in her life and transformed them to great effect in her most famous work. Members of the Brontë Society together with Libby Tempest, Chair of the Gaskell Society will discuss the book and the friendship between Elizabeth and Charlotte.

This event is free and the bar/ tea room will be open from 5.30pm.

Copies of the book will be available to buy priced at £25

Places are limited so please obtain a free ticket in advance

Friday 10 November – Sketching Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
A workshop with a reportage illustrator that shows how to record memories of a visit using sketches and illustrations. This workshop will show the variety of ways in which special places can be captured using pen, pencil, watercolour and other simple materials in a sketchbook. From drawing special items like lamps and furniture, to details and features as well as views, this day workshop will deliver the tools to get started in the delightful historic setting of Elizabeth Gaskell House. From creating line drawings and textures, to adding creative colour, there will be fun as well as some tips and tricks for future sketching.

Liz Ackerley is an urban sketcher and reportage illustrator who loves to convey a sense of place and occasion in her drawings. She runs workshops from her studio and in various venues. She works to commission for a variety of private and commercial clients and recently produced two illustrations of Elizabeth Gaskell House one of which was used on Christmas Cards in 2016. She records events and activities as they happen and loves to record the world around her in sketchbooks.

£55 including lunch.

Wednesday 15 November – Lecture: The comforts of home: domestic well-being in Georgian England
How did Georgian householders think about comfort and what made their houses into homes? In this talk, Jon Stobart will explore the increasing physical comfort of the Georgian house in terms of new technologies and shifting priorities – from fires and lamps to easy chairs and carpets – but also the ways in which the house/home was a place of emotional well-being, which involved both sociability and seclusion.

Jon Stobart is Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research centres on retailing, consumption and the materialistic side of domestic life in Georgian England. His recent work has focused on the country house and he is currently working on a project exploring comfort in the English and Swedish country house.

Tickets £8

Sunday 3 December, 12.30pm and 2.30pm  – Kettel & Blacke
Elizabeth Gaskell and her family are on holiday in Silverdale and have asked their ‘observant’ spinster neighbours, Misses Kettel and Blacke to house sit whilst they are away. There will be humorous observations and songs around the piano in the Drawing Room.

Suitable for all ages. Included in House admission

Sunday 10 December – Thrills & Quills – Jane Austen’s life in letters by LipService

Commissioned by Time to Read, this 50 minute performance takes a comic look at Jane Austen’s letters, examine the vagaries of the Georgian postal system and wonders what witty words Jane could have conjured up with a Twitter account.

Sunday 17 December, 1pm – The Muppets Christmas Carol and family craft activities
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House gets in the Christmas spirit with one of the best Christmas films, The Muppets Christmas Carol. There will also be family craft activities in the servants’ hall, plus mince pies and mulled wine on sale in the tea room plus stocking fillers in the shop.

House admission plus £1 for the screening.

Every month

Plymouth Grove Writing Group
An informal, supportive creative writing group every fourth Thursday open to all.

Victoria Book Group
Meets every third Thursday. £1 plus House admission.


Notes to editors

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-65) was born in London and brought up in Knutsford, Cheshire. In 1832 Elizabeth married William Gaskell, who was assistant minister at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester and later lived at 84 Plymouth Grove with her family from 1850 until her death in 1865. The two unmarried Gaskell daughters, Meta and Julia, lived in the house until Meta’s death in 1913.

The House is a Grade II* listed property, was built around 1835-1841 and is a rare surviving example of a suburban villa. It was designed in the fashionable Greek Revival style, probably by Richard Lane, a prominent local architect.


The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust was established in 1998 with the primary aim of saving Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. The restoration was made possible by the support and funding from The Bowland Charitable Trust, Cross Street Chapel, English Heritage, The Foyle Foundation, The Gaskell Society, J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Manchester City Council, Oglesby Charitable Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, and The Wolfson Foundation.


Contact and Visiting Details


Opening times: Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 11.00am-4.30pm (last admission 4pm)

Ticket prices: £5, Concessions £4 Tickets valid for re-entry for 12 months

Tours on other days by special arrangement from £10 pp including refreshments.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is also available for room hire and special events.

Please contact the Manager, Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd to discuss your requirements.


For further press enquires, images and interviews, please contact Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd on 0161 273 2215


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

Charlotte Brontë, on visiting 84 Plymouth Grove