The Gaskell Society and its partners host a year-round programme of meetings and special events, most of which are open to everyone. We’re very friendly – and we’d love to meet you, whether or not you choose to join the Society. 

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November 2015

Knutsford Meeting

Wednesday 25 November, 2015, 12:15 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel Hall, Adam's Hill
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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The Knutsford Meetings take place on the last Wednesday of the month from October to April, excluding December This session we are discussing Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell’s last novel, and arguably her best. She died before she had completed it, and the last few pages were written by Fredrick Greenwood, editor of the Cornhill Magazine. Elizabeth Williams will lead the discussions and you can decide for yourselves whether indeed this is Gaskell’s best novel. Prior to the discussion there will be the usual delicious…

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March 2016

Manchester Meeting

Tuesday 1 March, 2016, 12:15 pm - 2:15 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£3 – £4

John Greenwood is going to explore what Elizabeth Gaskell felt about the "new writer " George Eliot. Quite a surprising reaction considering Elizabeth was by that time a well- established writer herself. John is experienced in many branches of education, starting off as a French teacher, continuing as a teacher of English as a foreign language, and also working in Italy and for the British Council. I know you will enjoy listening to him. Doors open at 12.15pm. so that…

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May 2018

Gaskell Society: Women in Textiles Study Day:

Saturday 5 May, 2018, 11:00 am - 4:30 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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£30

Stop Press-A few places still available   Saturday 5th May 10:30-3:30 at Elizabeth Gaskell's House We are pleased to welcome  Members and Friends to our latest Study Day, to be held at the beautifully restored Elizabeth Gaskell's House. A delicious lunch is included in the fee of £30. The programme for the day is as follows:  10.30             Welcome – Coffee/tea and Introduction to the Day 11.00           Dr Deborah Wynne – Chester University Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cotton Novels This talk will…

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September 2018

Autumn Meeting

Saturday 29 September, 2018, 10:30 am - 4:30 pm
Knutsford Methodist Church, Princess Street
Knutsford, WA16 6BY United Kingdom
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£16.50 – £18.50

Booking Form for Autumn Meeting 10.30 am Coffee 11.00 am The Joan Leach Memorial Lecture  will be given by Marie Moxon, taking as her title: The Sounding Cataract and the Tall Rock: From William Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey’ to Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth. Writing to her sister-in-law Lizzie in 1836, Elizabeth Gaskell is enthusiastic about the Lakeland poet. Sitting ‘in a shady corner of a field gay with bright spring flowers’, and with ‘the air so full of sweet sounds’ the surroundings provide…

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October 2018

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

Tuesday 2 October, 2018, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

We are delighted to begin our new season with a very topical talk: Early photography in Manchester: introducing a hitherto unknown portrait of William Gaskell Gilly Read, vice-chair of the Royal Photographic Society’s Historical Group  Gilly Read first briefly describes the appearance and expansion of photography in the 19th century, before describing how it developed in Manchester.  She has identified more than 750 Victorian photographers in Manchester: traces of some of their studios survive.  Finally, Gilly surveys the Gaskells' (rather…

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Knutsford Meeting at Brook Street Chapel Hall

Wednesday 31 October, 2018, 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel Hall, Brook Street
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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£10 – £11

The Old Nurse's Story The Old Nurse’s Story was Gaskell’s first ghost story, published in 1852, in a special Christmas edition of Household Words. A recent reviewer of the story writes “What a brilliant introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell's writing this was!... a dark and eerie tale everything you could possibly want from a Victorian gothic ghost story", Come along to the next Knutsford meeting and  join in a discussion of this tale, led by Diane Duffy or just listen to what others…

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November 2018

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

Tuesday 6 November, 2018, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

  A great delight? The garden at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Jackie Tucker, is a member of the garden team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and a member of the Research Group. Jackie explains how the practical work in the garden goes hand-in-hand with research.  She describes the restoration of the garden and examines the principles, which underpin it. She sets the Gaskells’ garden in its historical context and explores what it meant to William, Elizabeth and their daughters, using the words of…

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Knutsford Meeting at Brook Street Chapel Rooms

Wednesday 28 November, 2018, 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel Hall, Adam's Hill
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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£10 – £11

The Grey Woman “I always enjoy a Gaskell gothic novella and this one was no exception - thoroughly enjoyable, gripping and dramatic. I adore her writing style and her characterisation, and just how different everything she writes is.” The Grey Woman is another of Gaskell’s short stories  which has elicited an enthusiastic response from a modern-day reader. Come along to the Gaskell Society meeting and join in the discussion led once more by Diane Duffy or just listen to what others…

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December 2018

Manchester Christmas Meeting at the Portico

Tuesday 4 December, 2018, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street
Manchester, M2 3FF
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£12.50 – £14.

Literary Theft?  Charles Dickens appropriates one of Elizabeth Gaskell's Favourite Stories.  A talk by Professor Michael Slater,  past president of the Dickens Fellowship. Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens reacted to each other with a mixture of admiration and irritation. One moment of tension was in 1852, when Dickens, in his story To Be Read at Dusk, made use of an anecdote, which Elizabeth Gaskell regarded as her own. Michael investigates this incident, which centres on a story of the uncanny-…

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January 2019

Knutsford Meeting at Brook Street Chapel

30 January, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel Hall, Adam's Hill
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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£5 – £6

  Mary Barton Session: 1 Once again we are delighted to welcome Dr. Diane Duffy to lead our discussions. For the remainder of this season the talks will concentrate on Mary Barton, which will be the focus of our forthcoming conference in July. (See details on the website, coming soon) Specifically for this meeting Diane will focus on Chapters 2 and 6 . Gaskell was very good on details and provides a great deal of detailed descriptions about the houses/interiors/possessions…

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February 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

5 February, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

  Can we devise a Gaskell ‘brand’ which could compete in the literary heritage industry with the Austen, Brontë and Dickens                              A talk by  ANTHONY BURTON Anthony,  a former Trustee at Elizabeh Gaskell's House , and retired museum curator,  now active as a lecturer  on art literature and local history     Literature starts with words on the page.  It can expand into various forms of…

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London & South East Gaskell Society Meeting

9 February, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace
London, SW1W 8JF United Kingdom
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£5

‘Domestic visiting as a means of social knowledge and reconciliation in Gaskell’s fiction A talk by Professor Martin Hewitt from Anglia Ruskin University  Martin will draw on Gaskell’s novels and short stories, especially Mary Barton, North and South and her Manchester short stories, to explore the way Gaskell advocated and exemplified what he calls the ‘visiting mode’ as way of knowing the nineteenth century city. His talk will be based on a chapter of his short monograph, provisionally entitled Seeing Space and Place in the Nineteenth…

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Knutsford Meeting: Mary Barton-Session 2

27 February, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
£10 – £11

Once again we welcome Dr Diane Duffy to lead our discussion. For the February session Diane will be looking at types of narrative in Mary Barton, focusing on chapters 14, 15, and 16 as well as the life histories-Job, Alice and Esther in Chapters 3 & 4. Mary Barton has been called a multi-genre narrative and there is evidence of melodrama, romance, journalism/documentary, personal history and tragedy in this novel, maybe you can think of others? Why might she want to…

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March 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

5 March, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

  'Ancoats - The World's First Industrial Suburb     A talk by Elizabeth Sibbering (Sibby)   The talk will explore the development of the area from the 1700s through Victorian industrialisation to modern times. It will examine the terrible conditions experienced by workers, both at work in the cotton mills and in their own homes; the immigrant groups who settled in Ancoats; other industries of the area; and the efforts at improvements made from Victoria times onwards. This talk…

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Knutsford Meeting: Mary Barton-Session 3

27 March, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel Hall, Brook Street
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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£10 – £11

  Dr Diane Duffy will again be leading our discussion.  This month she will be  focusing  once more on  Chapter 16 of Mary Barton. She will look at John Barton’s tragedy, thinking about Gaskell's initial intention to make it John’s story and being persuaded to change her mind. Many critics believe this novel to be a book of two halves, initially focusing on John and later moving to Mary. They feel this is detrimental to the novel. What are your views? …

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April 2019

The AGM of the Gaskell Society 2019 at Cross Street Chapel

6 April, 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£16.50 – £18.50

 Timetable 10.00 am: Tea and Coffee 10.30 am: AGM 11.30 am: The Daphne Carrick Memorial Lecture will be delivered by  Dr Katherine Skaris of Durham University who will be taking as her title  The Unsung Heroes of Elizabeth Gaskell's Fiction. Elizabeth Gaskell’s earlier works primarily address nineteenth-century social and political issues and her efforts in social reform, especially in regards to women, is ever-present in all her novels. In this paper, Katherine will argue that in Mary Barton, North and South, Ruth, Wives…

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Knutsford Meeting: Mary Barton Session 4

24 April, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel Hall, Brook Street
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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£10 – £11

Dr Diane Duffy will be leading this last discussion on Mary Barton. She writes: In the final meeting we will look at money. Make a note of when you come across the mention of money and in what context-you may be surprised at the frequency.  Gaskell sometimes looks at money being present in transactions and sometimes she studies the effects of its absence, but in every case it is of prime importance.  I will choose some examples to study and…

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May 2019

London &South East Gaskell Society Meeting

11 May, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
£5

I’m afraid that once again I have to announce a late change of speaker for this meeting. Lucy Hanks, who was due to speak to us about William Gaskell’s revisions on The Life of Charlotte Brontë, has had to withdraw due to a family illness, although we hope that she will be able to deliver her talk in our next programme. Instead we have been fortunate enough to secure another speaker whom we are sure you will find an excellent replacement…

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September 2019

London & South East Gaskell Society Meeting

14 September, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace
London, SW1W 8JF United Kingdom
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£5

Out in Public with Gaskell's Women A talk by Dr Flore Janssen Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels form perfect illustrations of the mid-nineteenth-century debates around women in the public sphere. Crossing class boundaries and addressing the world of work, novels like Mary Barton, Ruth, and North and South show women whose work and personal commitments require them to assert their presence in the public sphere, both literally, walking alone in busy streets, and figuratively, in their engagement with matters of law and business. This talk addresses…

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Gaskell Society Autumn Meeting

28 September, 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
Knutsford Methodist Church, Princess Street
Knutsford, WA16 6BY United Kingdom
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The Joan Leach Memorial Lecture: 'Narrating Sexuality' by Carolyn Lambert Gaskell was intrigued by questions of gender & sexuality and explored these in her writing in surprising ways. This presentation focuses on Gaskell's presentations of masculinity in her shorter fiction but also her subversive challenges to cultural expectations of femininity. Carolyn Lambert is a visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton where she teaches nineteenth-century literature.  She is the author of The Meanings of Home in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Fiction (Brighton: Victorian Secrets, 2013)…

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October 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

1 October, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

The Whitfield Collection, Knutsford Library A talk by Linda Clarke, Archivist at Cheshire Archives & Local Studies Knutsford Library holds a wonderful collection of Gaskell-related books, letters, cuttings, photographs, journals, foreign language editions, dramatisations, literary criticisms and background material, originally collected by Professor A Stanton Whitfield (1900-1975). Linda will talk about this publicly available collection and its relevance and interest to the Gaskell enthusiasts of today.       The talk will begin at 1:30pm, but doors open at 1.00pm,…

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Knutsford Meeting – October 2019

30 October, 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel, Adam's Hill
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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In October and November, we'll be discussing Cousin Phillis. Our monthly meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month, between October and April (except December). An excellent buffet lunch is served at 12.30pm followed by a talk and discussion, led by Dr Diane Duffy, 2-3pm. Read Diane Duffy's blog post about the novella here. There will also be a chance to visit the Gaskell Exhibition Room, upstairs in the Chapel Hall building.   Everyone is most welcome. £10…

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November 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

5 November, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

Elizabeth Gaskell’s French Connection A talk by John Greenwood, Editor of the Gaskell Newsletter John will talk about the important influences of all things French on Gaskell and her writing. His particular focus will be on the actual presence of the French language in Gaskell’s novels, short stories and articles.  The talk will begin at 1:30pm, but doors open at 1.00pm, so please feel free to bring a packed lunch and eat with us. The chapel provides tea and coffee for…

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London & South East Gaskell Society Meeting

9 November, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace
London, SW1W 8JF United Kingdom
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£5

Connectedness in Cranford A talk by Annick Pommier Elizabeth Gaskell led a highly connected life. She built a vast and varied social network over a relatively short period of time and the thousand or so letters that she wrote give us a glimpse of a woman for whom forging and maintaining connections was essential. Her need to connect was not confined to her personality and social life and extends to her works. In her presentation, Annick will explore some of the…

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Knutsford Meeting – November 2019

27 November, 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel, Adam's Hill
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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In November, we'll continue our discussion about the short novel, Cousin Phillis. Our monthly meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month, between October and April (except December). An excellent buffet lunch is served at 12.30pm followed by a talk and discussion, led by Dr Diane Duffy, 2-3pm. There will also be a chance to visit the Gaskell Exhibition Room, upstairs in the Chapel Hall building.  Everyone is most welcome - £10 members, £11 non-members if you'd like lunch.…

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As you’ll appreciate, arrangements can change, so please be sure to check details before you leave home.