To say thank you to the wonderful volunteers who give their time to support the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership (GMALSP) we held a celebration event at the beautifully restored Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester. This was our second visit to ensure as many volunteers got to take part as possible.
Elizabeth Gaskell lived at the house with her husband William Gaskell, who was Minister of Cross Street Chapel, and her 4 daughters from 1850 until her death in 1865. During this time she wrote some of her most famous novels including Cranford and North and South. The house continued to be occupied by the Gaskell family until the death of Elizabeth Gaskell’s daughter Meta in 1913. Manchester Central Library Special Collections includes a Gaskell collection so it was wonderful to hear more about the lady herself, and her husband, who was a very important figure in Manchester.
Following a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant and support from other funders the house was restored and reopened in 2014. It has been a labour of love for Manchester Historic Buildings Trust which was established in 1998 with the sole aim of restoring the Grade II* listed building. They have worked tirelessly to recreate the rooms as they would have been in the 1860s, ensuring that as many items of furniture and decoration are from the period as possible, including commissioning specially woven carpets, having curtains and shawls printed from an 1850s design and utilising specialist paint techniques.
The house is now open to visitors and comes highly recommended. It is staffed by volunteers who give their time generously and are very knowledgeable about the house and the Gaskell family. There’s also a lovely little tea room serving delicious cake. To find out more about the house visit their website.