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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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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July's meeting is all about Evelyn Waugh's classic novel. 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 in conversation with other national…

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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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Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century

23 July, 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
University of Lincoln, Alfred Tennyson Building, Brayford Pool
Lincoln, LN6 7TS United Kingdom
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Organisers: Dr Amy Culley, Dr Alice Crossley, Dr Rebecca Styler 9.00 Registration (open plan area outside lifts, floor 3: or turn right at the top of the stairs) 9.45 Welcome (ATB3116) 10.00 Panel session 1 (see below for details of panel papers - abstracts on conference website) 1A Writing and Im/maturity (ATB3101) 1B Ageing as Decline? (ATB3202) 11.20 Coffee break 11.40 Panel sessions: 2A Women Ageing with Authority(ATB3101) 2B Recovering the Ageing Body  (ATB3202) 1.00 Lunch (provided) 2.00 Panel sessions:…

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September 2019

Knutsford Meetings at Brook Street Chapel

22 September, 4:36 am

We are pleased to welcome back Dr Dane Duffy who will again lead our discussions for this session. We begin with one of Elizabeth Gaskell's short stories, The Old Nurse's Story. Perhaps you thought that Gaskell only wrote novels, but in this short story she shows just what a versatile and accomplished writer she was.. This is her first ghost story, written in 1852  for Dickens's at his request for a Christmas issue of his magazine Household Words. Prior to…

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Goodness, Truth and Beauty in the Works of John Ruskin and his Contemporaries

6 September, 9:45 am - 6:30 pm
Anglia Ruskin University, East Road
Cambridge, CB1 1PT United Kingdom
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In her review of Ruskin’s 'Modern Painters 3', George Eliot writes: ‘The truth of infinite value that he teaches is realism- the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred by imagination on the mists of feeling, in a place of definite, substantial reality.’ Through the nineteenth-century, Ruskin, Eliot and a number of Victorian reformers sought to clarify the divine and human sources…

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Heritage Open Days and Annual Academy Service at Cairo Street Chapel

14 September, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Cairo Street Chapel, 4 Cairo Street
Warrington, WA1 1ED United Kingdom
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Visit the historic chapel and gardens at Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel in Warrington for Heritage Open Weekend 2019. The Chapel has many monuments to past members of the chapel including many members of the Gaskell family. The Annual Academy Service will feature a talk by Ray Beecham, a member of the congregation, on the life of Samuel Gaskell (1807-1886) , Commissioner for Lunacy of England and Wales. Gaskell is a forgotten man of Warrington, who led the transformation of the treatment and…

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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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Heritage Open Days and Annual Academy Service at Cairo Street Chapel

15 September, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Cairo Street Chapel, 4 Cairo Street
Warrington, WA1 1ED United Kingdom
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Visit the historic chapel and gardens at Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel in Warrington for Heritage Open Weekend 2019. The Chapel has many monuments to past members of the chapel including many members of the Gaskell family. The Annual Academy Service will feature a talk by Ray Beecham, a member of the congregation, on the life of Samuel Gaskell (1807-1886) , Commissioner for Lunacy of England and Wales. Gaskell is a forgotten man of Warrington, who led the transformation of the treatment and…

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Victorian Book Group – Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

19 September, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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The September meeting is about Thomas Mann's 1901 novel which details the decline of a wealthy German merchant family over four generations. 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…

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