Given the current Covid-19 outbreak, our committee has taken the decision to cancel or postpone our events until further notice. At time of writing, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has closed its doors until a planned review in July. All events listed are subject to change or cancellation.

Please stay safe, dear members, and we hope to see you at our events and meetings again before too long.

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Gaskell Society Conference

Friday 17 July, 2015 - Tuesday 21 July, 2015

The conference this year will be held at Cober Hill Hotel and Conference Centre, Cloughton, Scarborough. YO13 0AR

The title of our conference is Coming to a Conclusion.  We’ll be looking at the later years of Elizabeth Gaskell’s life in this, the 150th anniversary year of her death. We will be visiting Whitby, the setting for Sylvia’s Lovers and Scarborough, where Anne Bronte is buried.

The Programme

Friday 5.30p.m. Emeritus Professor Angus Easson, University of Salford will introduce the Conference by giving us a talk on  Scarborough and Whitby:  Nests of Singing Birds. Angus will talk about Caedmon of Whitby and the Sitwells, whose family home was in Scarborough.

7p.m. Dinner

After dinner we will be entertained by Jean Alston and Hugh Clow, giving us an illusrated talk about the places that we are going to visit in the afternoons.

Saturday morning
9.00 a.m
. Lord Northcliffe P
rofessor Emeritus John Sutherland,  University College, London, will give us an an overview of the literary scene at the time Gaskell was writing.   John  has written widely on Victorian fiction, notably Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (1989, 2008),  Is Heathcliff a Murderer? and many more, some serious and others not so serious. His most recent book is a biography of the famous elephant, Jumbo. John is a regular columnist for The Guardian newspaper,.

9.45 a.m. Professor Francis O’Gorman,  Professor in the School of English at the University of Leeds, will speak to us on Sylvia’s Lovers. Francis has written and edited twenty books, mostly on English literature and  many essays on poetry, music, and the condition of the modern English university. He recently edited  Sylvia’s Lovers (OUP 2014).

10.30a.m. Coffee

11.00 a.m. Dr. Karen Laird “Searching For Anne Brontë”. Karen is a writer and researcher specialising in Victorian literature.She teaches a course on the Brontës for the University of Missouri’s distance education program, and leads the Victorian book club at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester.  She has recently completed a project on the letters of the Brontë family for A Companion to the Brontës (Blackwell, forthcoming 2016).

Sunday morning
9 .00 a.m. Professor James Drife, is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds and a former vice-president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He has edited medical books and journals and has spoken previously to the Gaskell Society about Elizabeth Gaskell’s medical history.  His talk will.explore how changes in medicine in the 19th century affected women’s health.

9.45. a.mDr Carolyn Lambert is an associate lecturer at the University of Brighton Her book, The Meanings of Home in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Fiction was published in 2013. Carolyn contributes reviews and articles to The Gaskell Journal and Women: A Cultural Review and has written a chapter on Mary Barton for a forthcoming publication, Re-assessing Women Writers of the 1840s and 1850s. Carolyn’s talk will focus on attitudes to death in Gaskell’s writing and in real life.


11 a.m. Dr. Josie Billington “Wives and Daughters: On Not Concluding. Josie is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society,at the University of Liverpool. She has published extensively, as editor and critic, on Elizabeth Gaskell and her female contemporaries. She edited Wives and Daughters for the Collected Works of Elizabeth Gaskell (2006). 

7.00p.m. Dinner

8 p.m. approx.An entertainment devised by and featuring Professor James Drife and Professor Walter Nimmo, whose speciality is anaesthetics. but we promise you won’t be sent to sleep by this talented duo!

Afternoon Outings: Saturday and Sunday.
1. A tour of Whitby, seeing not only the historic places of interest, but also the locations mentioned in Sylvia’s Lovers;
2.This trip will be travelling further afield, to see Anne Bronte’s grave and a scenic drive through Ryedale to see the beautiful parish church at Brompton, where William Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson.

Both trips will take place on Saturday and again on Sunday

All accommodation is fully booked, but if you wish to book, for a day/morning contact Jackie Tucker, 210 Astley St. Dukinfield, Cheshire SK16 4QD  email Jackie      or call 0161 330 4188 for  availability and prices.

Please advise of any special access or dietary requirements.

 Overseas members may pay using Paypal or internet transfer. Email Jackie for details. Balance required by June 1st.

Coach from Macclesfield: 10.00a.m.   Knutsford: 10.30a.m.  Manchester:11.15a.m. Cost: circa £30 – cost depending on numbers.
Details nearer the time. 


Friday 17 July, 2015
Tuesday 21 July, 2015
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Cober Hill Hotel & Conference Centre
Scarborough, YO13 0AR United Kingdom
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As you’ll appreciate, arrangements can change, so please be sure to check details before you leave home.