Learning Programme

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester is the former home of the acclaimed author, well-known for her novels North and South, Cranford, Wives and Daughters and Mary Barton.
This beautifully restored family home has spectacular Victorian rooms and charming garden.

Follow in the footsteps of famous Victorian authors such as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë, who visited Elizabeth Gaskell at Plymouth Grove. The House, combined with the story of Elizabeth Gaskell as a writer, public figure and private person, provides a unique and engaging experience.

Learning is central to our ethos at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, building on the legacy of Elizabeth Gaskell and her family. Our hands-on approach and relaxing environment mean we are an inspiring, sensory and creative space for learners of all ages.

We are pleased to offer a programme of bookable activities, developed in partnership with schools, artists and community groups. Each workshop has been designed with a particular key stage in mind. However, we also offer bespoke workshops, so please do get in touch with your requirements or ideas for collaboration.


Early Years: Storytime at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

An interactive, hands-on storytime session inspired by Beatrix Potter, a childhood visitor to Plymouth Grove. Children will:

  • Enjoy a story in one of the Victorian rooms
  • Play with Victorian toys
  • Take part in a craft activity

Curriculum areas: Literacy, Art and Design.

KS1: Through the keyhole at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Who lived in a house like this? Through a variety of playful and hands-on activities, we will discover more about Elizabeth Gaskell’s Victorian home. Pupils will compare life in Victorian times to life today through some of the following:

  • Exploring the period rooms
  • Handling Victorian household objects
  • Dressing up in Victorian costumes
  • Playing with Victorian toys
  • Trying a craft-based activity
  • Engaging in a literacy-based activity

Curriculum areas: History, Literacy, Drama and Science.

KS2: The Interruptions of Home

Through a variety of drama activities, pupils will bring to life characters from Elizabeth Gaskell’s brilliantly descriptive letters. Pupils will discover about life in a Victorian home through:

  • Character role play
  • Dressing up in costume
  • Handling replica objects
  • Writing at Elizabeth Gaskell’s desk

Curriculum areas: History, Drama and Literacy.

KS2: Elizabeth Gaskell’s House – Now and Then.

Discover how a Victorian house has changed over time through hands-on exploration using historical documents and photographs. Pupils will use their detective skills to discover the history of the House and local area through:

  • Investigating census documents
  • Comparing photos of the local area then and now
  • Examining local historical documents
  • Studying Elizabeth Gaskell’s letters

Curriculum areas: History, Literacy and Geography.

Secondary, Higher and Further Education groups

KS3 and KS4:

We offer:

  • A private tour with one of our experienced guides.
  • A range of specialist talks on topics including:

– Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels
– The Gaskells: a Victorian Manchester family
– The restoration of a Victorian period house

  • Drama workshops – role play activities based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s descriptions of Victorian life
  • Local history activities using historical documents related to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, a Victorian home
  • Spaces for out-of-the-classroom learning, including using our restored period rooms as inspiration for Art and Design projects

Curriculum areas: Literature, History, Drama, Art and Design.

Further and Higher:

Our learning opportunities include:

  • Self-guided visits
  •  private tour with one of our experienced guides
  • A range of specialist talks on topics including:

– An introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell: writer and woman
– The Gaskells and the cultural life of Victorian Manchester
Mary Barton and Manchester
– 84 Plymouth Grove and its restoration
– How did their garden grow?
– The Gaskells’ garden at Plymouth Grove

Other bespoke talks can also be arranged with sufficient notice

Adult and Community

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has a range of informal learning opportunities for people of all ages. We have a monthly Victorian Book Club, a monthly creative writing group, a weekly Sewing Bee group and a weekly ‘Herizons’ creative session for local women. Sessions for Herizons are led by enJOY arts and if you would like more information please contact info@enjoy-arts.org.uk

We also run short courses on various topics from fashion and literature to creative writing. See our whats on page for more information.

Useful Information

From £3.50 per pupil per booked session. Accompanying adults free. (Costs will vary for self-guided visits, private tours and bespoke projects.)

Coach parking
The House is on the corner of Swinton Grove and Plymouth Grove. Coaches can safely drop off on Plymouth Grove so pupils do not need to cross a road.

The house has step-free access, a lift to all levels and accessible toilets on each floor. Please inform us in advance of any access requirements or additional needs.

Teachers and group leaders can arrange a pre-visit to the House at no additional cost for planning and risk assessment.

Activities will take place in the period rooms and the Servants’ Hall. There is space for storage of coats and bags. Packed lunches may be eaten in the Servants’ Hall.

A unique location
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has a choice of rooms available for hire for meetings and away days (up to 35 people) or as spaces for out-of-the-classroom learning.
From £75 +VAT for half a day.

Play in a Day
Our in-house creative partners, enJOY arts, can also provide an interactive, fun and engaging session for KS2 and above, in which pupils develop a play in a day on a topic or area of your choice, themed around Elizabeth Gaskell and Victorian Manchester. From £350.

Fill out the enquiry form below or contact the House Manager directly on enquiries@elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk or call 0161 273 2215



Plans are like a card-house-if one gives way, all the others come rattling about your head

Elizabeth Gaskell, 1864