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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May 2018

The Alliance of Literary Societies AGM Weekend, Birmingham

Friday 18 May, 2018 - Monday 21 May, 2018
Ibis Birmingham New Street, 21 Ladywell Walk
Birmingham, B5 4ST United Kingdom
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The Gaskell Society is a member of the Alliance of Literary Societies (ALS), so our members are most welcome to attend the Alliance's AGM in Birmingham Friday, 18 May   7 pm There are lots of places to eat in Birmingham, but if you would like to join us for a Chinese buffet experience (within easy walking distance of the Ibis New Street Hotel), please indicate on the booking form – so that we can book a table.    …

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September 2018

The Whitfield Collection Talk

Saturday 15 September, 2018, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Free

The archivist from Cheshire Record Office will give a talk about how Mrs. Gaskell's biography of her friend Charlotte Bronte came about, supported by artefacts from the Stanton Whitfield Collection of Gaskell books, which are normally housed at Knutsford Library. The books will be on display in Brook Street Chapel until mid September. This event is part of the Knutsford heritage open days.  Entry to the talk is free.

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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

New Year Lunch at Cottons Hotel

9 January, 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Cottons Hotel and Spa, Manchester Road
Knutsford, WA16 0SU United Kingdom
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£26

We are once again returning to Cottons Hotel, Knutsford for our New Year Lunch. The cost is £26 which covers a 3 course lunch, tea or coffee and entertainment afterwards. We are hoping that this year we will have a special treat-all will be revealed in due course The menu will be available soon, so when it is please make your choices and send them along with any dietary requirements, together with a cheque payable to The Gaskell Society, to :Mrs Carolyn…

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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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June 2019

Victorian Book Group – Swann’s Way

20 June, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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June's meeting is all about Swann's Way, which is Volume 1 of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. Now in its 4th year, the Victorian book group continues its focus on reading (and rereading) classic works of fiction. Our scope spans the long nineteenth century and often includes neo-Victorian novels. We are especially interested in writings by and about women, and always feature one work by Elizabeth Gaskell. In 2019, we will explore the genre of the family saga…

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Elizabeth Gaskell in Many Voices

20 June, 7:30 pm
Wilmslow Library, South Drive
Wilmslow, SK9 1NW
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£7

Wilmslow Green Room Theatre presents an evening's entertainment with readings from Elizabeth Gaskell's works, performed in costume. The event will also include a short introduction from 'Mrs Gaskell's House'. Tickets (£7) include a glass of wine or a soft drink. Everyone welcome.

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Introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell’s Novels: Mary Barton

26 June, 7:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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£10

If you’ve always wanted to read an Elizabeth Gaskell novel, but haven’t quite got round to it, or feel a bit intimidated, then this is for you. Mary Barton was Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel and is the best starting point for a new reader. It’s both a love story and an expose of Manchester life in the 1840s, by someone who knew all about it. In this session, you’ll find out why Elizabeth Gaskell chose to write the novel, what…

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July 2019

‘Household Commotion’: Elizabeth Gaskell and the ‘awful treasure’ of her servants, 1832-1865.

4 July
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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A new, interactive exhibition exploring in detail some of the individual servants that worked for the Gaskell family including Hearn, Elizabeth’s faithful housekeeper, and Will Preston, the outdoor servant from Cumbria, whose letter was found during the renovation work. A Letter to William In July 2016, while working on the Coach House at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, workmen discovered a letter wedged between the brickwork and roof trusses in what is now the Nightingale room. Although the pages were badly scorched,…

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Summer Evening Talk: Mary Barton’s Manchester

10 July, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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£8

Join us for a summer evening talk on the 1840s Manchester of Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel, Mary Barton. Dr Diane Duffy will lead you on a literary journey of discovery of the places, buildings and landmarks of the city as featured in the book, with extracts from the text to map the way. This fascinating talk will interest anyone who wants to find out more about historical Manchester in Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing and is a perfect companion to Sherry Ashworth’s introductory…

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Victorian Book Group – Brideshead Revisited

18 July, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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June's meeting is all about Evelyn Waugh's classic novel. Now in its 4th year, the Victorian book group continues its focus on reading (and rereading) classic works of fiction. Our scope spans the long nineteenth century and often includes neo-Victorian novels. We are especially interested in writings by and about women, and always feature one work by Elizabeth Gaskell. In 2019, we will explore the genre of the family saga and continue our investigation of how the British novel developed…

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The Gaskell Society Conference 2019

19 July, 4:00 pm - 22 July, 10:00 am
Tankersley Manor Hotel, Church Lane, Tankersley,
Barnsley, S75 3DQ
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£330 – £380

Elizabeth Gaskell: Working-Class Politics and Culture at   The  Tankersley Manor Hotel which is situated between Sheffield and Barnsley. Set in modest grounds, with full leisure facilities, including a pool, it offers ample parking and easy access to the M1 motorway. As is usual, our Friday evening speakers will talk about the industrial and literary aspects of the area.  On Saturday and Sunday mornings, we have five speakers- Professor Francis O’Gorman: John Ruskin and the Working-Class Professor Robert Poole: Elizabeth Gaskell…

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