Elizabeth Gaskell lived at 84 Plymouth Grove in Manchester from 1850 to 1865. Gaskell is now considered one of the UK’s most important Victorian writers. She penned the very first biography of Charlotte Brontë, along with novels including Cranford, North and South, and Wives and Daughters – each of which has been adapted for television by the BBC.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House itself is a rare and beautiful example of the elegant Regency-style villas once popular in Manchester. Built between 1835 and 1841 on the outer edge of the growing city, it is now a Grade II listed property and offers visitors a unique insight into the Manchester that the Gaskells knew and loved.
Step inside and be transported back to the 1800s as you explore the Study, Morning Room, Drawing Room, Dining Room and Elizabeth’s bedroom – all of which have been restored to how they would have looked in the 1860s. Extensive research and Elizabeth’s own letters have enabled the team at the Gaskell house to present the rooms as they really were, complete with curtains and bedspreads printed from an 1850s design and carpets specially woven using Victorian patterns preserved by a mill in Halifax.
As well as seeing items originally from the house, including Elizabeth’s wedding veil and some of her Paisley shawls and miniatures, visitors can learn more about the Gaskell family by talking with the on-site expert guides and watching a short video presentation.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and take a moment to enjoy Plymouth Grove’s beautiful gardens – one of Elizabeth’s favourite things about the property. Today, the choice of plants is based on references in Elizabeth’s letters and novels, as well as by Victorian garden history.
The light and spacious basement has been converted into a charming Tea Room, allowing visitors to enjoy tea and cake in what used to be Elizabeth Gaskell’s kitchen. Offering a wide range of refreshments, all served with traditional vintage china, the Tea Room is the perfect ending to a tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.