Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Whitworth Gallery

20 April 2016

A day trip to Manchester to visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s house and the newly restored Whitworth Art Gallery.

Our first visit of the day in Manchester is to the home of Elizabeth Gaskell. The House, a Grade 2 listed property was built between 1835-1841 and is a rare example of an elegant Regency-style villa. Elizabeth Gaskell lived here from 1850 until her death in 1865. During this time she wrote nearly all her famous novels, including Cranford, Ruth, North and South, and Wives and Daughters. She also wrote the biography of her friend Charlotte Bronte, a frequent visitor to the house.

Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson was born in 1810 in London and married her husband William Gaskell in 1832. He was a Unitarian Minister in Manchester and 42 (now 84) Plymouth Grove was their third home. They grew flowers and vegetables, and kept a cow, pigs and poultry. The House was always bustling with eminent visitors which included Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, the American abolitionist Harriet Beeches, the musician Charles Halle and the Wedgwoods.

Elizabeth had four daughters and after the death in infancy of her son she was encouraged by her husband, as a distraction from her grief, to write a novel. Her publisher was Charles Dickens and he asked her to contribute to his magazines. Her works were very varied, ranging from social realism to ghost stories. Visitors to the house can find out about the Gaskells’ work, explore the lives of their daughters and servants, and discover the Manchester they knew.

Refreshments will be available in the cafe.

After exploring the Gaskells’ home we will travel a short distance to The Whitworth Art Gallery. It was The ART FUND Museum of the Year 2015 Winner and contains about 55,000 items in its collection. On arrival at the Museum you will have the opportunity to visit the new café for your lunch or perhaps take a packed lunch, before exploring the Museum yourself or join the guided tour which is available.

The Gallery was founded in 1889 by Robert Dukinfield Darbishire with a donation from Sir Joseph Whitworth and the first building was completed in 1908. In 2015 the refurbishment and extension work resulted in the Gallery winning a RIBA National Award and being shortlisted for the Stirling Prize. The Whitworth has notable collections of watercolours, sculptures, wallpapers and textiles. It focuses on modern artists and the art collections include works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ford Madox Brown, Francis Bacon, William Blake, David Hockney, L.S. Lowry, Vincent van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso and J.M.W. Turner. Three exhibitions will be available to see.

Before departure we will assemble in the South Gallery for refreshments before departure for home.

The cost is £26 per person. A booking form is available to download here.


Caption: Gaskell House Plymouth Grove


Below are photos of Gaskell House