Accessibility Statement for Visitors

The Board of Trustees, staff and volunteer team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House stated aims include welcoming visitors and volunteers of all backgrounds and ensuring that every visitor and volunteer feels valued.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has an accessibility policy that seeks to ensure that any physical, sensory, cultural, social, financial, intellectual, geographical or technological barriers that prevent visitors from enjoying and benefiting from the facilities and services provided by Elizabeth Gaskell’s House are minimised or removed.
Click here to read the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Accessibility Policy

The purpose of the following statement is to provide detailed information on the physical layout of the House in terms of access.

Location and Exterior Access

The House is situated one mile from the City Centre of Manchester and both Piccadilly and Oxford Road Railway Stations. The House is on and near to many bus routes, and there is limited free parking on the streets surrounding the House. Bike racks are available for visitors, staff and volunteers to use. These are situated near the basement entrance at the right of the House.

There is no parking on site for visitors, except those with a blue badge who may reserve a disabled parking space in advance of their visit. The disabled parking is accessed via the righthand gate at the front of the House and visitors are asked to park considerately in the courtyard area as spaces are not marked.

Pathways around the house are all flat or sloped and even. Care should be taken when the surface is wet.

Entry to the House

Visitors can either enter through the main doors at the front of the House, which can be accessed via three stone steps, or via the side entrance accessed via a slope.

Visitors coming through the side entrance must ring the bell for the door to be opened, and then should walk through to the main entrance area and Hall.

Tickets are purchased from the Entrance Hall and enable the visitor to visit the House for 12 months from date of purchase. We ask that tickets be paid for by card. For up to date information on admission charges please click here

The hall area is paved with level flagstones.

The desk is of low level with a perspex screen, with clear lines of visibility. There may be a short wait to purchase tickets at busier times.

Ground Floor

All visitors are invited to touch and handle nearly all the objects and furnishings in the period rooms – of which there are five (four on the ground floor and one on the first floor).

All the Victorian period rooms are carpeted and there is plenty of space to access and exit these rooms in a wheelchair or mobility aid (door width on all period room doorways is 91cm).

Visitors may sit on the majority of the chairs and volunteers will advise on any that shouldn’t be used.

The Morning Room (the first room) contains three interactive interpretation screens, two of which can be touched to activate.

Lighting has been installed to reflect the style and period of the rooms and may be low-level at certain times of the day. Volunteers are on hand to read material or to talk through any questions visitors may have.

There are small baskets in two rooms (Morning Room and Study) containing toys, games and books for children.

There is also a Cranford the Cat trail for families to do and there are soft toy cats in each room for children to spot.

First Floor

The Exhibition Room, Bronte Room and Elizabeth Gaskell’s bedroom are located on the first floor of the House and can be accessed via the lift or the main stairway.

The stairs are carpeted. As the original hand rail is in place we ask that visitors do not lean or put large amounts of pressure against the rails. The stairway is wide and open.

Both rooms are both carpeted. Chairs are available to sit on. The door width for all rooms is 89cm.

The exhibition in the exhibition room usually changes every year.

The Bronte Room contains an interactive interpretation screen (which can be touched to activate) and a large screen showing a 15 minute film. You can press a button to start the film.

There is also a dressing table that has audio when specific drawers are opened. Items on the dressing table can be handled and there are dressing-up clothes for children in this room.

There are two emergency call panels on the first floor, one is directly outside the lift and the other is on the landing at the top of the main staircase.

The route through the House takes visitors past the bedroom and down a second staircase, or via the lift, directly to the basement and the main exit is from the basement into the courtyard.

The area outside the lift on the first floor is designated as an area of refuge and in the case of a fire, those unable to use the stairs should wait in this area until they are rescued or relieved by firefighters.

There are two gender neutral toilet cubicles on the first floor, one of these is accessible.

Tea Room and Basement

The Tea Room, Servants’ Hall and toilets are situated in the basement/lower ground floor. This can be accessed via the lift or steps from the first floor.

There is also a stairway between the ground floor and basement. Please note that this is narrow but secure handrails are in place and the edge of the steps are marked in white.

The basement surface is even stone flagged across all areas. The Servants’ Hall contains dressing-up items, has second-hand books for sale and is used as an overflow for the Tea Room. Occasionally this room is used for events and is closed to the public.

The Tea Room itself sells a selection of hot and cold drinks (including alcoholic drinks), cakes, crisps and biscuits. There is a small shop area around the edge of the Tea Room which includes a selection of new books. All goods can be paid for at the main counter in the Tea Room. Payment can be taken by cash or card and there is no minimum spend. For detail about the Tea Room menu click here

Access is unrestricted (door width 91cm) and chairs may be moved to accommodate wheelchairs. Mothers are welcome to breastfeed at any location in the House, including the Tea Room. There is also a small table and chairs for children to use and high chairs are available.

There is a fire exit and direct access to garden from the basement without steps. To return into the House you must return to the front or ring the bell.

Toilets

  • Accessible toilets (door width 91cm) are available in the basement and on the first floor. The one in the basement is shared with a baby change area.
  • Male and female toilets are located in the basement.
  • Two gender neutral cubicles are located on the first floor.

Additional information

  • Visitors are encouraged to take photographs throughout the House.
  • Only guide or assistance dogs are permitted into the House.
  • Smoking of any kind is not permitted in the House and any smoking must be done within the courtyard area.

A Large Cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke.

Charlotte Brontë on visiting the House, 1851