Talks Programme 2020

8th January 2020
in news

Join us throughout 2020 for a fine line-up of literary lunch-time lectures. The Elizabeth Gaskell’s House talks programme 2020 will explore the Gaskells’ world, from Ruskin to revels, and Cranford to Crimea, with a lively mix of speakers to entertain and inform.
Talks are included in admission, start at 1pm and last approx 45 minutes (unless stated). Refreshments are available from our Tea Room. No need to book, just turn up on the day.

Fallen Women!

Sunday 26 January

The Gaskell Society’s Elizabeth Williams explores the fascinating topic of the fallen woman in literature. Find out more

Introduction To Ruskin

Thursday 30 January

Join Anthony Burton to find out about writer, critic, artist, Victorian super-star and friend of the Gaskells, John Ruskin. Visit our Ruskin exhibition while you’re here, to discover Ruskin’s links to the Gaskells and Manchester – you can even try some nature sketching, inspired by Ruskin’s own teachings on art too. Find out more

International Mother Language Day

Thursday 20 February

Join our fabulous volunteers from across the globe, as they read extracts from Elizabeth Gaskell’s writings in their own languages. Find out more

Art, Architecture and the Future of Humanity: Ruskin’s Enduring Message

Sunday 23 February

Pull up a seat and enjoy finding out more about eminent Victorian John Ruskin’s message for mankind, with Chris Bamber. And visit our Ruskin exhibition to help put his message in context. You’ll be able to browse some of Ruskin’s writings on art and architecture, and try your hand at nature sketching too, inspired by the great artist. Or see if you can spot the snowdrops in our award-winning garden, before taking tea and cake in our tea room. What a wonderful way to spend a winter weekend! Find out more

Ruskin in Manchester

Wednesday 26 February

John Ruskin had a lot to say about Manchester. He even came to stay at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. Find out just what he thought of our great city in this lunch-time lecture with Anthony Burton. And stay on to explore some of the correspondence between Ruskin and Elizabeth Gaskell in our Ruskin exhibition. Find out more

International Women’s Day: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Women Writer Friends – Female Scribblers or Literary Lions?

Sunday 8 March

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Dr Diane Duffy, as she explores the writing of Elizabeth Gaskell’s fellow female authors. Make a day of it and stay to browse our famous second-hand book sale, and enjoy a well-earned tea and cake in our tea room. Find out more

Mother’s Day Readings

Sunday 22 March

Elizabeth Gaskell was a mother-of-four and her experience as a mother informed much of her writing. Join our House volunteers for a delightful Mothering Sunday selection of readings about mothers from her letters, stories and novels. Enjoy tea, coffee and delicious cake in our tea room, explore the beautifully-restored house and gardens, try on a silk bonnet and shawl and create some marvellous memories. What a lovely Mother’s Day! Find out more

Forgotten Female Novelists

Thursday 23 April

Discover the work of forgotten women novelists of the North-West. Join Libby Tempest, current Chair of the Gaskell Society, as she shares her research into local female authors who followed in Elizabeth Gaskell’s footsteps 10-30 years after her death. Were these writers influenced by Elizabeth Gaskell and why have they slipped into obscurity? Find out more

Author Q & A: Matthew Wells in conversation about new book, Bertha Darley

Sunday 26 April

Meet author Matthew Wells, in conversation with Dr Diane Duffy, as he talks about his new edition of forgotten Victorian classic Bertha Darley. Matthew will be talking about the book, its author, Lydia Burton, and the comparisons with her contemporary, Elizabeth Gaskell. A must for all those who enjoyed Libby Tempest’s talk on Forgotten Female Novelists. Find out more

Chocolate-box Cranford: an Idyll?

Sunday 10 May

Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford is famed for its portrayal of picture-perfect English village life, and its well-loved illustrations by Hugh Thomson help to paint this chocolate-box picture. But is there more to Cranford than the idyllic image suggests? Find out more in this talk by Anthony Burton, which anticipates our exciting new Cranford exhibition. And take a look at our first edition of Cranford here at the House, which belonged to Elizabeth Gaskell herself. Find out more

Mary Barton’s Manchester

Wednesday 3 June, 7- 8pm

Join us for an evening talk on the 1840s Manchester of Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel, Mary Barton. Back by popular demand, Dr Diane Duffy will lead you on a literary journey of discovery of the places, buildings and landmarks of the city as featured in the book, with extracts from the text to map the way. This fascinating talk will interest anyone who wants to find out more about historical Manchester in Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing. Tickets are £10. Included in the event is a glass of wine to round off the perfect literary evening. Find out more

Cranford For Beginners

Thursday 20 August

Have you ever wanted to read Cranford or wondered why it’s one of Elizabeth Gaskell’s most popular novels? Join Libby Tempest for an introduction to this well-loved classic of English literature. And, of course, stay to explore our new Cranford exhibition here at the House, and discover more about the book, its inspiration and its legacy. Find out more

International Day of Peace: On William Gaskell’s Peace Sermon

Sunday 20 September

Join us to celebrate International Day of Peace with this timely talk on William Gaskell’s sermon about peace, inspired by the Crimean War. Manchester University’s Dr Ingrid Hanson will discuss Rev Gaskell’s sermon and its echoes in Elizabeth Gaskell’s own fiction. Find out more

Elizabeth Gaskell’s Birthday Talk: Blame The Mother? Elizabeth Gaskell, Nature and Nurture

Sunday 27 September

It’s Elizabeth Gaskell’s birthday on September 29, and we’re celebrating with a talk in her honour! Join us for this fascinating discussion on nature versus nurture in Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing, with the Gaskell Society’s Elizabeth Williams. Find out more

Bronte Talk

Sunday 18 October

Join us for a Bronte-themed talk by writer and researcher Elisabeth Basford.

Halloween Lunch-time Talk

October (date to be confirmed)

Elizabeth Gaskell delighted in writing gothic tales and ghost stories. Discover these terrifying tales in the very house they were written, in this spellbinding Halloween talk by Dr Diane Duffy.

‘A Grand Quarrel’: Elizabeth Gaskell and Florence Nightingale on Motherhood

Sunday 1 November

Join Naomi Stadlen for a discussion on two of Britain’s most famous and influential Victorian women and their beliefs about motherhood.

Cranford‘s Illustrators

Sunday 22 November

Cranford’s famous illustrations helped to popularise Elizabeth Gaskell’s much-loved novel. Find out more about the story behind these iconic illustrations in informative lunch-time talk with former Portico Library librarian, Emma Marigliani. Find out more

Christmas Revels in Victorian Manchester

Thursday 3 December

Everyone loves a traditional Victorian Christmas! Cosy down in the Servants’ Hall and join Anthony Burton to discover how Manchester celebrated Christmas in the Victorian era. Warning: may contain festive fun! There’ll be mulled wine and mince pies on offer in the tea room too! Ho! Ho! Ho! Find out more

And we've got a house. Yes! we really have

Elizabeth Gaskell, 1850