The Gaskell Society

The Gaskell Society

Celebrating the life and work of Elizabeth Gaskell

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Online Event: North and South – The Preston Lockouts Anniversary

Wednesday 29 November, 2023, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm GMT


2023 marks the 170th anniversary of the Preston Lockouts – the historical strikes that informed the plot and themes of Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic romantic novel North and South and provided inspiration for Charles Dickens in Hard Times. When workers demanded a 10% wage increase in Preston in 1853, the factory owners simply locked the gates and left 18,000 people out of work. So, what really happened during the lock outs? Are characters like Mr Thornton and Higgins based on real people? And what was the impact of these events, both for the strikers themselves and for wider Victorian industrial relations? Popular speaker Prof Michael Sanders from Manchester University explores the reality behind the strikes which inspired these groundbreaking ‘condition of England’ novels.

The talk will be approx 45 mins long, with time for a short question session afterwards