Given the current situation, listed events may be subject to change. Please double-check arrangements before leaving home. Do stay safe: we hope to see you again in person at our events before too long.

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October 2020

Knutsford Meeting (online) – The Squire’s Story

Wednesday 28 October, 2020, 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
Free

We're delighted to welcome Dr Diane Duffy, who'll be returning with her popular study sessions, this time discussing 'The Squire's Story'. These sessions are FREE and open to members and non-members alike. Invitations will be emailed to members, but if you're not a member, contact us for yours. 'The Squire's Story' was published in the 1853 Christmas number of Household Words. The previous year Gaskell had contributed 'The Old Nurse’s Story' to the Christmas edition,  a skilful and chilling tale of family…

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Elizabeth Gaskell’s Gothic Tales (online talk)

Wednesday 28 October, 2020, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Join us online for a spine-tingling talk, just in time for Halloween! Elizabeth Gaskell delighted in writing gothic tales and ghost stories. Explore these terrifying tales in our spellbinding Halloween talk by the Gaskell Society's Dr Diane Duffy. Tickets are £3. ** Ticket sales will cease one day before the event starts, in order to allow time to send out joining instructions** **Joining instructions will be sent via email on the day of the talk, prior to the start of…

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November 2020

Elizabeth and Esther (online talk)

Tuesday 3 November, 2020, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom + Google Map

That Elizabeth Gaskell knew her Bible hardly needs stating, but what use did she make of it in her fiction? In particular, what use did she make of The Book of Esther? Sherry Ashworth’s talk will cover how The Book of Esther was understood by nineteenth century English Christians, and how Elizabeth Gaskell used it to embellish and bring meaning to her fiction. You’ll be surprised how often The Book of Esther pops up, and how tuned in Gaskell was…

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Mary Barton’s Manchester (online talk)

Wednesday 11 November, 2020, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Join us online to discover the 1840s Manchester of Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel, Mary Barton. Back by popular demand, the Gaskell Society's 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. Tickets are £3. ** Ticket sales…

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‘Knutsford’ Meeting (online) – November 2020

Tuesday 24 November, 2020, 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom

Our next session (which will again take place online over Zoom) will be a discussion of 'The Well of Pen Morfa' with Dr Diane Duffy. After the success of Gaskell’s story ‘Lizzie Leigh’, the first piece of fiction to appear in Dickens’ new periodical Household Words (which was launched on March 30th 1850) Dickens requested others. The first, ‘The Well of Pen Morfa’, was published in two parts during November 1850. The story was set in North-west Wales, an area…

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December 2020

Manchester Meeting (online) – A Christmas Ramble

Tuesday 1 December, 2020, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom

The Gaskells must often have walked between their home and Cross Street Chapel.  They certainly did on Christmas Day 1861 (there and back). We, in lockdown, cannot physically retrace their steps through Chorlton-on-Medlock.  But, guided by the Gaskell Society's Anthony Burton, we can make a virtual expedition by Zoom, with the advantage that we can see pictures of features that have disappeared since the Gaskells’ time. Midway, we will have a short pause to celebrate, consuming such Christmas refreshments as…

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Christmas Revels in Victorian Manchester (online talk)

Wednesday 2 December, 2020, 7:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£3

Everyone loves a traditional Victorian Christmas! Get your mince pies ready, pull up your favourite chair, and join us online for a cosy Christmassy evening, as the Gaskell Society's Anthony Burton reveals just how Manchester celebrated Christmas in the Victorian era. This online talk will be approx 45 mins long, with time for a short Q&A session afterwards Tickets £3 ** Ticket sales will cease one day before the event starts, in order to allow time to send out joining…

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December Second-hand Book Sale

Sunday 13 December, 2020
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
+ Google Map

The second-hand book sale will be running on Sunday 13 December but the House will be closed as per tier 3 restrictions. Pre-booking is essential to allow the house team to manage numbers and keep everyone safe. The £1 fee will be redeemable against second-hand books purchased. Book now ********* Named as “Manchester’s best second-hand book sale” by one of our visitors,  the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House second-hand book sale is a popular favourite for book lovers. Two rooms packed full…

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January 2021

Reading the Nineteenth Century – Wives & Daughters

13 January, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£10

It’s back! The sell-out reading course is now going online! Join Sherry Ashworth in this perennially popular reading course, hosted by Elizabeth Gaskell's House, to explore depictions of motherhood in the nineteenth-century novel. How was the mother seen in Victorian times? Was she a domestic angel, designed for this sacred role? What about the ‘fallen woman’ as mother? To answer these questions and more, we’ll be reading a range of classic texts that shine a spotlight on motherhood in Victorian…

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The Victorian Bedroom (online talk)

20 January, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£5

The Victorian Bedroom: curtains, feathers, slops and bugs.   Join the Gaskell Society's Anthony Burton, one of our most popular and engaging speakers. Anthony has been getting behind appearances to confront some of the problems of life in the Victorian bedroom. Using Victorian household manuals, he tries to answer such questions as: What sorts of beds, and bathtubs were available? Would you stuff your mattress with straw, wool, horsehair, seaweed or hops? And tells of other strange dilemma faced by our Victorian forebears Anthony’s…

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‘Knutsford’ Meeting (online) – The Sexton’s Hero

26 January, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom

Our January discussion, hosted by Dr Diane Duffy, will be about the short story 'The Sexton's Hero'. You can download and read the story here. Diane has drawn up a list of points to ponder.  And Dr Duffy's blog post about the story is here.  We email invitation links to our members shortly before the meeting, but these events are free and open to all. If you're not a member of the Gaskell Society, you're still welcome to join us. Just…

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Cranford for Beginners (online talk)

27 January, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£4

Have you ever wanted to read Cranford or wondered why it’s one of Elizabeth Gaskell’s most popular novels? Join Libby Tempest, Chair of the Gaskell Society, for an introduction to this well-loved classic of Victorian literature. It’s the perfect complement to the House's exciting new Cranford exhibition in 2021, where you can discover more about the book, its inspiration and its legacy. The talk takes place over Zoom and tickets are £4. Use the link below to book your place.

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February 2021

Manchester Meeting (online) – Brontë’s Mistress

2 February, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom + Google Map

In February, we're delighted to welcome historical novelist Finola Austin, who will talk about her debut novel, Bronte's Mistress, published by Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) in 2020. in 1843, Branwell Brontë had affair with Lydia Robinson, mistress of Thorp Green Hall and the mother of his pupil. The novel reimagines the scandalous affair that has divided Brontë enthusiasts for generations and gives voice to the woman vilified by history as the “wicked elder seductress”. Finola Austin has a Master's degree…

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Cranford’s Illustrators (online talk)

3 February, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£4

Cranford’s famous illustrations helped to popularise Elizabeth Gaskell’s much-loved novel. Find out more about the story behind them in this informative online evening talk with our very good friend, the former Portico Library Librarian, Emma Marigliano It’s the perfect complement to the House's exciting new Cranford exhibition in 2021, where you can discover more about the book, its inspiration and its legacy. The talk takes place over Zoom and tickets are £4. Use the link below to book your place.

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Reading the Nineteenth Century – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

10 February, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£10

It’s back! The sell-out reading course is now going online! Join Sherry Ashworth in this perennially popular reading course, hosted by Elizabeth Gaskell's House, to explore depictions of motherhood in the nineteenth-century novel. How was the mother seen in Victorian times? Was she a domestic angel, designed for this sacred role? What about the ‘fallen woman’ as mother? To answer these questions and more, we’ll be reading a range of classic texts that shine a spotlight on motherhood in Victorian…

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‘Knutsford’ Meeting (online) – working class representation

23 February, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom

Dr Diane Duffy has selected three texts for discussion,  all of which detail a mill strike and include at least one woman who witnesses/becomes involved in the action.  She has arranged the texts in date order, starting with 1849 - Bronte’s Shirley - a text which has been noted as the forerunner of Helen Burton’s novel, no-one mentions Gaskell here. In 1854-5 we have North and South by Gaskell and this is followed in 1858 by Helen Burton's novel, Bertha Darley. Download and…

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Chocolate Box Cranford – an Idyll? (online talk)

24 February, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£4

Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford is famed for its portrayal of picture-perfect English village life, and its well-loved illustrations by Hugh Thomson help to paint this chocolate-box picture. But is there more to Cranford than the idyllic image suggests? Find out in this online winter’s evening talk with the Gaskell Society's Anthony Burton, It’s the perfect complement to the House's exciting new Cranford exhibition in 2021, where you can discover more about the book, its inspiration and its legacy. The talk takes place…

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March 2021

Manchester Meeting (online) – Alice Petschler

2 March, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom

We're delighted to welcome the historian, biographer and retired teacher, Joanna Williams to our March meeting, where she'll talk about Alice Petschler (1830-1897).   Alice Petschler was the photographer, poet and "lunatic" whose case helped to lead changes in the law on how the mentally ill were committed. Most accounts of pauper asylums are from the viewpoint of the medical staff, but Petschler, an educated woman, was far from a typical 'pauper lunatic'.  Carried off by night under false pretences,…

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Vindication of the Rights of Woman – Mary Wollstonecraft’s influence on the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell (online talk)

3 March, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£4

Elizabeth Gaskell's House celebrates the approach of International Women’s Day with a focus on Mary Wollstonecraft, a pioneer of feminist thought in the UK, and her influence on Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing. Wollstonecraft is firmly back in public consciousness, due to the head-turning new statue in her honour, by artist Maggi Hambling. Join us for this fascinating online talk with Dr Diane Duffy, as she examines the ways Wollstonecraft’s ideas have informed Elizabeth Gaskell’s work. The talk takes place over Zoom…

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Reading the Nineteenth Century – Bleak House

10 March, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£10

It’s back! The sell-out reading course is now going online! Join Sherry Ashworth in this perennially popular reading course, hosted by Elizabeth Gaskell's House, to explore depictions of motherhood in the nineteenth-century novel. How was the mother seen in Victorian times? Was she a domestic angel, designed for this sacred role? What about the ‘fallen woman’ as mother? To answer these questions and more, we’ll be reading a range of classic texts that shine a spotlight on motherhood in Victorian…

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Readings in Honour of Mothers’ Day (online talk)

17 March, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£4

Join the team at Elizabeth Gaskell's House for a wonderful online reading about mothers and motherhood, in honour of Mother’s Day. Elizabeth Gaskell’s experience as a mother informed much of her writing. House volunteers will be performing a delightful selection of readings about mothers from Elizabeth’s letters, stories and novels. Join us from the comfort of your own home, to hear thoughts from Elizabeth Gaskell's home. The talk takes place over Zoom and tickets are £4. Use the link below…

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A Piano Recital with Claire Vane

20 March, 7:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£10

We're delighted to welcome the celebrated pianist Claire Vane, who will give an online recital from her home in Cambridge. Claire intends to perform at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, just as soon as conditions allow, but in the meantime she has made this very generous offer to perform for us via Zoom.   Claire is offering her services free of charge, so the Friends of Elizabeth Gaskell's House are delighted to be able to use this occasion to raise funds for the House.   Enjoy music…

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‘Knutsford’ Meeting (online) – March 2021

30 March, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom

Our March discussion, hosted by Dr Diane Duffy, will be about the short story, 'A Dark Night's Work'. You can read Dr Duffy's blog post about the story here.  Diane has supplied some extracts for the discussion and a list of points to ponder. Extracts to read before we meet. Questions for the session and points to ponder.  We're meeting on Zoom, with invitations being sent to those on our mailings list. The events are free and open to all. If you're…

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April 2021

Below Stairs: Servants at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

7 April, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom
£4

Victorian households had a strict class hierarchy but was it really all like Downton Abbey? What did servants do on a daily basis and what was a life ‘in service’ like? The middle classes often complained of the ‘Servant Problem’ but how were relations between the Gaskell family and their servants at 84 Plymouth Grove? Find out more in this revealing talk by the Gaskelll Society's Anthony Burton. The talk will be approx 45 minutes long, with time for a…

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The Gaskell Society AGM 2021

10 April, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom, online only, by invitation United Kingdom

Our Annual General meeting reverts to its usual April slot for 2021, though we've decided to use Zoom, rather than meet in person at Cross Street Chapel. We'll be running talks and lectures over Zoom in the coming months, so this AGM will be business-only - no talks or lunch, alas - and open only to our members. All members who have email will receive an emailed invitation. Our Spring newsletter will carry information about telephone numbers you can call to listen into the…

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