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Gaskell Society Conference 2017

Friday 21 July, 4:00 pm - Monday 24 July, 10:00 am


Royal Beach Hotel, Portsmouth

21st– 24th July

        Conference Booking Form 

Our Conference this year will be held at the Royal Beach Hotel, Portsmouth. Built in1866 with a sea front aspect and on-site parking, this venue is a delightful location to experience a little of what Gaskell would have enjoyed on her visit to Portsmouth in 1861.

The Conference theme is North and South, considering both the novel and the geographical locations.  Afternoon trips round Portsmouth and the New Forest will be run and we hope to offer, as an alternative, a North and South study session on Saturday afternoon.

Draft Programme of Talks

Friday:4:00 Registration

5:30 Andrew Negus ‘Portsmouth-Harlots, Dung, Glory and Mrs Gaskell’

Andrew is a retired secondary teacher, who specialised in history. He is a Blue Badge tour guide for central southern England and an aspiring local historian. Andrew will be leading us on our tours of Portsmouth on Saturday and Sunday afternoons

The talk will cover the mediaeval origins of Portsmouth and its development by 1805, becoming the base of the all-conquering Royal Navy and the home of the greatest dockyard in the world. The talk will go on to explain further developments of the town and create a picture of life in Portsmouth when Mrs Gaskell paid her visit.in 1863.

7:00 Dinner

8:30 tbc Dr. Cheryl Butler: The Literary Landscape of Hampshire in the 19th century

Cheryl studied history at Winchester and Southampton universities and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Association and the Royal Society of Arts                                                        Mrs Gaskell’s literary works were rooted in a northern landscapes, both rural and industrial, but in her retirement she longed for the rolling countryside  and so she  chose Hampshire for her retirement home! This talk will look at other nineteenth century writers who found their inspiration, or their escape in the south’


Times to be confirmed

9:30 Professor Angus Easson

“My dear Scheherazade”- Or The Woes of Editor and Contributor

Charles Dickens established his magazine, Household Words, in 1850, and was eager to recruit writers whose concerns matched his own. Attracted by Gaskell’s recent Mary Barton, he delighted in the very different world of Cranford and wanted more.This lecture will focus on the early rapport between Dickens as editor and Gaskell as story-teller-the enchanting Scheherazade of the Arabian Nights-and the souring of the relationship during the fraught serialisation of North and South. So far did relations break down that far from wooing her, Dickens notoriously declared, “Oh, if I were Mr Gaskell, how I would beat her.”


Professor Mary Hammond

‘A “Southern capacity of hating and loving”: the regional reception of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton and North and South.’ It explores the very different reception these two novels received in the north and south of England, using previously neglected regional newspapers which not only reviewed but also printed extracts ofneglected regional newspapers which not only reviewed but also printed extracts of Gaskell’s novels.

Sunday Anna Burton

Remarks on Forest Scenery: North and South and the Picturesque Anna Burton is in the third year of her PhD at the University of Liverpool. Her thesis focuses on ‘Ruins and Old Trees: William Gilpin, the Picturesque and the Long-Nineteenth-Century Novel’,  Using William Gilpin’s eighteenth-century observations on picturesque landscapes as a starting point, this talk will explore Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s presentation of the New Forest in North and South.

Dr Ben Moore: ‘Invisible Architecture’ in North and South

Ben Moore is Assistant Professor in English Literature at the University of Amsterdam. He completed his PhD on vision, city space and nineteenth-century literature, including Gaskell’s Manchester, at the University of Manchester in 2014, and has published on writers including Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley and Benjamin Disraeli. His talk will explore patterns of the seen and the unseen in urban and domestic space in North and South.

Anthony Burton: “Elizabeth Gaskell and London”

Anthony Burton is a Trustee of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and in working life was a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.  The North/South divide in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel is usually taken as the contrast between the industrial North and traditional rural life.  But London is South too.  This paper simply notices what London meant to Elizabeth Gaskell: a place to visit family and friends, the centre of English cultural life, the milieu of the literary elite to which she gained entry.

Professors James Drife and Walter Nimmo are returning by popular demand to entertain us on Saturday evening.

The full cost of the conference is: £350 single    £330 double/twin   Non-conference participating members  £305              Non-members £375

Day rate for non-residents:  Mornings : talks plus lunch = £30

Sat and Sun afternoons: outings , dinner and entertainment = £50



Please return booking form (downloadable version at top of page) to Mrs Jackie Tucker, 210 Astley Street, Dukinfield, Cheshire SK16 4QD

Enquiries:      TEL. 0161 330 4188                EMAIL: 








Tel. No.                                                 Email:


I would like to book a  SINGLE ROOM                                    £350            YES/NO*

I/we would like to book a TWIN ROOM, TWO SHARING          £330 each          YES/NO*

I/we would like to book a DOUBLE ROOM                            £330 each          YES/NO*

Any special access and/or dietary requirements:


I/we would like to book the coach YES/NO*. Price to be decided according to demand. Please give your preferred pick up point:

  1. a) Manchester 9am*   b) Macclesfield 9.45am*    c) Knutsford 10.30am*


To confirm a place, please enclose a non-refundable £75 deposit by cheque, payable to THE GASKELL SOCIETY by the Mon 10th April 2017. The balance will be required by 1st June.

Overseas members – deposit and balance to be paid by the dates above or full payment by 10th April. Please pay via Paypal or by internet transfer – email Jackie Tucker for details.


Friday 21 July, 4:00 pm
Monday 24 July, 10:00 am
Event Categories:


Gaskell Society


Best Western Royal Beach Hotel
St Helens Parade
Portsmouth, PO4 0RN
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