Spring into Elizabeth Gaskell’s House season of online events

12th March 2021
in news

Mother’s Day – Online talks & tours – Book launch Charlotte Bronte and Elizabeth Gaskell Season

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has earned an outstanding reputation for the quality and variety of its online events, with the programme designed to explore all aspects of this great literary house and the lives of those who were intertwined with it.  During the spring months a collection of events will unfold that reveal the world of Elizabeth Gaskell, before leading into the planned reopening of the heritage attraction on Wednesday 19 May 2021.

Mother’s Day Reading, Wednesday 17 March (7pm to 8pm)

Elizabeth Gaskell’s experiences as a mother had a significant influence upon her writing, and her house was also a much-loved home for her children.  So why not treat your mum to a delightful evening of illustrated readings from Elizabeth’s letters, stories and novels.   Tickets are just £4 and your purchase also means that you’ll be helping to support this heritage gem.

Further information and booking details are available here.

Below Stairs: Servants at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Wednesday 7 April (7pm to 8pm)

Victorian life was something that Elizabeth held a mirror to for generations of readers.  In this fascinating talk the focus will be on the realm below stairs, looking at the daily existence of servants and what a life ‘in service’ was like.  Anthony Burton will provide a glimpse into the workings of 84 Plymouth Grove and reveal how servants often saw their employers.

Tickets are £4, with further information and booking details are available here.

Reading the 19th century, Wednesday 14 April and Wednesday 12 May (7pm-9pm)

Join Sherry Ashworth for the latest in the perennially popular reading course – now online – to explore depictions of motherhood in the nineteenth-century novel.  How was the mother seen in Victorian times? Was she a domestic angel, designed for this sacred role? What about the ‘fallen woman’ as mother?

To answer these questions and more, you’ll be discussing a range of classic texts that shine a spotlight on motherhood in Victorian Britain.

April 14: Margaret Oliphant’s Hester
May 12: George Moore’s ‘Esther Waters’

Tickets are £4, with further information and booking details are available here.

Online Tours of Elizabeth Gaskell House, Saturday 17 April (10.30am to 11.30am) and Thursday 13 May (7pm to 8pm)

With 360° photography illuminating your journey you are invited to accompany the Elizabeth Gaskell team to explore the cherished former home of one of Manchester’s most famous authors.  As fascinating as the stories about her life, are the stories of those Elizabeth surrounded herself with, from her shy friend Charlotte Bronte to the tumultuous relationship she had with her publisher Charles Dickens.  This highly interactive experience has been attracting worldwide audiences, with an early booking recommended.

Tickets are £10, with all the information available here and here.

Why She Wrote by Bonnets at Dawn, Wednesday 19 May (7pm to 8pm)

Join authors Bonnets at Dawn (aka Lauren Burke and Hannah Chapman) for the launch of their book Why She Wrote.  The focal point of the talk will ask the intriguing question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overlooked, or pigeonholed, why did she write?  Alongside Elizabeth Gaskell the book features Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson and Anne Lister, making this an event for literary lovers everywhere.

Tickets for the event are £4, with booking details here and you can order a copy of the book here.

Sons and Mothers: Lawrence, Larkin and the Maternal Muse, Wednesday 26 May (7pm-8pm)

This compelling talk explores the work of two of the finest English writers of the 20th century; DH Lawrence and Philip Larkin.  Join Philip Watts for a fascinating look at how each writer’s relationship with his mother influenced their work.  Find out how D H Lawrence, regarded as the ‘greatest imaginative novelist of our generation’, affected Larkin’s poetry so many years later.  Enjoy readings of several complete poems and see why Larkin’s work was once described as ‘a poetry from which even people who distrust poetry, most people, can take comfort and delight’.

Tickets are £4, with further information and booking details available here.

Charlotte Bronte and Elizabeth Gaskell season (July – August 2021)

Elizabeth Gaskell House is working in partnership with the Bronte Parsonage Museum ( to bring you a short season of events exploring the unlikely friendship between two giants of 19th century literature.

The two writers were polar opposites in many ways yet they were immediately drawn to each other when they met in 1850 and Charlotte stayed with the Gaskell family on three occasions.  Discover how, after Charlotte’s death, Elizabeth’s autobiography ‘The Life’ secured the legacy, reputation and myth of Charlotte Bronte.

The season finale is a panel discussion featuring Dr Lucy Hanks and chaired by Libby Tempest of the Gaskell Society.  Further details to follow at

In line with the government’s roadmap, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House plans to reopen its doors to visitors on Wednesday 19 May, with tickets bookable in advance and the café open to serve light refreshments.  For further details and the latest information visit

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House’s spring events programme is funded by the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.  The Culture Recovery Fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, using funds provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  All the money raised goes towards the maintenance and running of the house, which is managed by the charity Manchester Historic Buildings Trust.


For further information, or to set up an interview please contact Fido PR: / 0773 474 9995

A selection of images can be found here:

About Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is a Grade II* listed property that was built around 1835-1841 and is a rare surviving example of a suburban villa.  The Manchester author lived in the House with her family from 1850 until her death in 1865.  Her two daughters lived at the house until 1913.   

The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust was established in 1998 with the primary aim of saving Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.  The House opened to the public in October 2014 with support and funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund and other charitable trusts.

In 2019 Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Volunteer Team were presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The guides brought the home alive. It was inspiring to hear about this woman and extraordinary family

Visitor to the House in 2021