Manchester’s most famous literary home, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, will be packed to the rafters with eerie events this October, as Halloween brings a terrifying timetable of talks, creepy crafts and scary stories. And Elizabeth Gaskell would definitely approve – she wrote a whole series of ghostly gothic tales. In addition to the Halloween fun, there’ll be a riotous Raucous Afternoon Tea, a Script-writing Masterclass, a chance to meet the author of a new book as part of the Manchester Literature Festival, talks about life below stairs in the time of the Gaskells, and a hands-on talk on Victorian dress.
Raucous Afternoon Tea, 3 October, 2 – 3.30pm
Enjoy an afternoon of riotous tales about famous, infamous and downright outrageous characters from our great city – and of course home-made cake and House-blend tea or fresh filter coffee. Hold tight to your china teacup as our feisty housekeeper regales you with stories of Manchester’s most interesting characters: feisty activists, ground-breaking scientists, radical writers – and a few of the city’s more unsavoury characters from its rich history. Tickets £15/£19 via the website – Price includes an entry ticket to the House (which lasts for a year) tea/coffee and cake. Gossip, guffaws and goodies guaranteed. Book now
The Servant Problem: A Talk, 7 October, 1.30 – 2.15pm
Enjoy a talk by Anthony Burton on the ‘servant problem’, much grumbled about by householders in the Victorian times. The talk is free – included in admission.
The Daily Grind: A Talk, 10 October, 1.30-2.15pm
Find out about the trials, the hardships and the day-to day life of servants in Victorian households, in this free talk by Anthony Burton. Talk included in admission.
Script-writing Workshop, 12 October, 10.30am – 4pm
Join us for a House exclusive with playwright Amanda Dalton at this full-day script-writing workshop. You’ll have the beautiful House to yourselves to inspire your own script, with expert tuition from BBC Radio and former Royal Exchange Theatre scriptwriter Amanda. £55 for the full day, including exclusive access to the house and gardens, expert tuition and freshly-prepared lunch. Book via the website. Book now
Nell Stevens, Mrs Gaskell and Me, 17 October, 7 – 9pm
Join author and scholar Nell Stevens in conversation with Libby Tempest to discuss her new book – a part memoir, part fiction exploration of her life alongside that of Manchester’s own Elizabeth Gaskell. Doors open at 6pm for a prompt 7pm start. Tickets £6/£8 purchased via the Manchester Literature Festival (not via Elizabeth Gaskell’s House).
Dressing the Victorian Lady – Outerwear and Accessories: A Talk, 18 October, 1.30 – 3pm
The latest in a series of hands-on talks about aspects of Victorian clothing, led by Margo Singer. See examples of fashionable outerwear of the time, and find out about shawls, purses, parasols and other essentials of the well-dressed Victorian Lady. Tickets £8 (£12 incl yearly House admission pass), and includes tea/coffee and delicious cake. Book via the website.
October Half-term Family Crafts, 24 October, 1-3pm
Get ready for Halloween with our spooky crafts this half-term. We’ll be making blood-curdling bats and weird wands at the House, and writing our own spells. Come and join us if you dare! £1 per child (accompanied by an adult with House ticket).
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: A Sunday Talk, 28 October, 1 – 1.45pm
Join Dr Diane Duffy for a lunch-time talk on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in this bicentennial anniversary year of the book’s first publication Learn how the book – one of the first books of science fiction – explores the ethics of science, a topic that still has great relevance today. Free of charge, included with House entry.
Halloween Lunch-time Talk: Frankenstein, 31 October, 12 – 1pm
Join us for a Halloween lunch-time talk on Frankenstein. Bring your sandwiches – or treat yourself to cake from our tea room – and make yourself comfortable in our Servants’ Hall to listen to Dr Diane Duffy talk about Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, and its similarities with ‘the monstrous other’ in Elizabeth Gaskell’s work. Free event, included in admission price.