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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September 2019

Gaskell Society Autumn Meeting

Saturday 28 September, 2019, 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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Elizabeth Gaskell’s Birthday Talk: Elizabeth Gaskell and Gossip

Sunday 29 September, 2019, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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We’re celebrating Elizabeth Gaskell’s birthday with a glass of wine and a good gossip! The Gaskell Society’s Elizabeth Williams will discuss Elizabeth Gaskell’s sharp eye and sharper tongue in this fascinating talk on Gaskell and gossip. Is gossip just malicious tittle-tattle, or could it be a compelling kind of story-telling? Find out more, as we delve into Elizabeth Gaskell’s writings to decide just what her gossip entails! Please join us for a complimentary glass of wine prior to the talk…

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October 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

Tuesday 1 October, 2019, 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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Florence Nightingale – Behind the Legend

Thursday 3 October, 2019, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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£8.50 – £16.50

Discover the person behind the legend. Florence Nightingale was a gifted and complex woman who became a legend in her own lifetime. This illustrated talk will attempt to portray and explain her background, her motives and her struggle to lead an independent life, her rise to fame as “the lady with the lamp” and her success in public health reforms. Elizabeth Gaskell was a friend of Florence’s sister, Parthenope, who painted the picture of Florence that we have in the…

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October Pen Portrait

Sunday 6 October, 2019, 3:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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Published writer and Gaskell House volunteer Philip Watts has created a collection of four monologues in the form of imaginary letters in which members of the Gaskell circle – Elizabeth, William, Margaret and Charlotte Brontë – discuss the artistic representations of themselves to be found in the house. Each lasts ten minutes and provides an entertaining way to learn more about the house and its occupants. One of the monologues will be performed every first Sunday of the month at…

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October Second-hand Book Sale

Sunday 13 October, 2019, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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On the second Sunday of each month, Elizabeth Gaskell's House hosts a fantastic second-hand book sale, downstairs in the Servants Hall. All proceeds go towards supporting operations and events in the House. The tearoom always has a fine selection of new and second-hand books for sale, but this is the big one! It's a chance to browse a much wider selection – two rooms filled with second-hand books, donated by book-lovers! The selection includes a variety of fiction, art, gardening,…

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Victorian Book Group – The Age of Innocence

Thursday 17 October, 2019, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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October sees the turn of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel, set in New York's high society of the 1870s. 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…

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Knutsford Meeting – October 2019

Wednesday 30 October, 2019, 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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Elizabeth Gaskell’s Gothic Tales

Thursday 31 October, 2019, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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Get into the Halloween spirit and join us for a lunch-time talk on Elizabeth Gaskell’s gothic tales, with Gaskell Society committee member, Dr Diane Duffy. Mysterious vanishings, eerie old buildings, windswept moors and ghostly goings-on: Elizabeth Gaskell’s goosebump-inducing gothic stories are a far cry from the gritty Manchester novels with which she’s often associated. Come along at 1pm to find out more about these dark and decidedly spine-tingling tales.

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November 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

Tuesday 5 November, 2019, 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

Saturday 9 November, 2019, 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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November Second-hand Book Sale

Sunday 10 November, 2019, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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On the second Sunday of each month, Elizabeth Gaskell's House hosts a fantastic second-hand book sale, downstairs in the Servants Hall. All proceeds go towards supporting operations and events in the House. The tearoom always has a fine selection of new and second-hand books for sale, but this is the big one! It's a chance to browse a much wider selection – two rooms filled with second-hand books, donated by book-lovers! The selection includes a variety of fiction, art, gardening,…

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Cloth and Class: Paisley Shawls in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Writing

Thursday 14 November, 2019, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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Paisley shawls are a recurring motif in Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing. What is their importance and meaning in her work? Join designer and textile lecturer Margo Singer to find out, in this fascinating talk.  Take the chance to see the display of original paisley wool scarves from the Elizabeth Gaskell Family Collection too.

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Mary Barton’s Manchester

Wednesday 20 November, 2019, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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Join us for an evening talk on 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 £8.…

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Victorian Book Group – Fathers and Sons

Thursday 21 November, 2019, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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November's meeting is all about Ivan Turgenev'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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Knutsford Meeting – November 2019

Wednesday 27 November, 2019, 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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December 2019

Christmas Storms and Sunshine: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Short Stories

Sunday 1 December, 2019, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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Cats, babies and sausages – what more could you want from a Christmas tale? “My dear, I wish for turkey and sausages. It may be a weakness, but I own I am partial to sausages.” So says Mr Jenkins, arch-nemesis of fellow lodger Mr Hodgson, at the start of Elizabeth Gaskell’s short story of Christmas quarrels, written in 1848. This seasonal short story, with a wonderfully-evocative domestic setting, has all the ingredients (including the sausages!) of a satisfying seasonal tale:…

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Christmas Buffet Lunch

Tuesday 3 December, 2019, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street
Manchester, M2 3FF
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£12.50 – £14.00

The Agony & the Recipe: the Victorian Invention of the Woman’s Magazine A talk by Margaret Beetham, Lecturer (Retired), Dept. of English, Manchester Metropolitan University Margaret has published extensively on Victorian women’s magazines: her book A Magazine of Her Own? Domesticity & Desire in the Women’s Magazine, 1800-1914 asks the question – ‘Was the 19th century woman’s magazine like a corset - a source of pleasure or an instrument of control?’ She is also the joint author of Victorian Women’s…

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December Second-hand Book Sale

Sunday 8 December, 2019, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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On the second Sunday of each month, Elizabeth Gaskell's House hosts a fantastic second-hand book sale, downstairs in the Servants Hall. All proceeds go towards supporting operations and events in the House. The tearoom always has a fine selection of new and second-hand books for sale, but this is the big one! It's a chance to browse a much wider selection – two rooms filled with second-hand books, donated by book-lovers! The selection includes a variety of fiction, art, gardening,…

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Victorian Christmas Games

Sunday 8 December, 2019, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Forfeits…Snap Apple…Musical Fright: just a selection of the curious Christmas games played around the Victorian fireside during the festive season! Join the Gaskell Society's Anthony Burton as he discusses weird and wonderful Victorian Christmas parlour games – with the chance for visitors to join in the fun. Treat yourself to a mince pie and a warming mulled wine in the cosy Tea Room too!

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Victorian Christmas Games

Sunday 8 December, 2019, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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A lunchtime talk by The Gaskell Society's Anthony Burton. Forfeits…Snap Apple…Musical Fright: just a selection of the curious Christmas games played around the Victorian fireside during the festive season! Join Anthony as he discusses weird and wonderful Victorian Christmas parlour games – with the chance for you to join in the fun too! Treat yourself to a mince pie and a warming mulled wine in the cosy Tea Room too! Entry included in your house entry ticket.

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January 2020

January Second-hand Book Sale

12 January, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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On the second Sunday of each month, Elizabeth Gaskell's House hosts a fantastic second-hand book sale, downstairs in the Servants Hall. All proceeds go towards supporting operations and events in the House. The tearoom always has a fine selection of new and second-hand books for sale, but this is the big one! It's a chance to browse a much wider selection – two rooms filled with second-hand books, donated by book-lovers! The selection includes a variety of fiction, art, gardening,…

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Gaskell Society New Year Lunch

15 January, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Cottons Hotel and Spa, Manchester Road
Knutsford, WA16 0SU United Kingdom
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£26

We are delighted to be once again holding our New Year Lunch at The Cottons Hotel, Knutsford. The three-course lunch, including coffee costs £26 and will include after lunch entertainment, courtesy of Diane Duffy, who will, with her fellow Thespians, perform “The Old Nurse’s Story”. After her rave reviews at the Conference, we are in for a treat! Places must be booked in advance -  please contact Mrs Carolyn McCreesh by 31st December. Cheques should be made payable to The…

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Wedding Afternoon Event

19 January, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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Did you know you can get married at Elizabeth Gaskell's House? We would be hard-pressed to think of anything more wonderful than that! Come along and meet the House's Wedding Co-ordinator, who will show you around and tell you all you'll need to know about having your wedding at this warm and friendly - but oh so elegant - house with its gorgeous gardens.. Booking is required for free entry - and your free glass of prosecco - so please…

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Reading the Nineteenth Century 1 – Ruth

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

A new, five-part evening reading course at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House - enter the world of fallen women in the Victorian novel. When a women’s virtue is compromised, what choices lie open to her? Whose fault is it that she falls in the first place? And what will happen to the children born as a result? To answer these questions, Sherry Ashworth, Visiting Teaching fellow at Manchester Writing School, will lead you into the turbulent fictional lives of these Nineteenth-Century women,…

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