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Gaskell Society

On September 29, 1985, the 175th anniversary of Elizabeth Gaskell's birth was commemorated in Knutsford by a literary lunch and other events which led to the formation of the Gaskell society.
The Society is based in Knutsford, with its many Gaskell associations, especially as Cranford, and as Hollingford in Wives and Daughters. Here she spent a happy childhood at Heathwaite no 17, now Gaskell Avenue, was married in the Parish Church and is buried in the graveyard of the three hundred year old Unitarian Brook Street Chapel surrounded by her ancestors' graves. Mrs Gaskell's house at 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, belongs to the University of Manchester. The Gaskell Memorial Tower, situated at the Bellel Epoque Restaurant, stands as a memorial to her in Knutsford town centre.
The Society offers a Journal, News letters, visits, meetings and conferences, lectures and tours.

Membership Secretary, Christine Lingard,
5 Moran Crescent, Macclesfield, SK11 8JJ.
Email: lingardgsms@aol.com
or visit
the gaskell society website

The Elizabeth Gaskell Series on Virtual-KnutsfordOne does not have to be a close observer in Knutsford to notice signs of Cranford days: Gaskell and Cranford Avenues, Elizabeth Gaskell Court, the Gaskell Memorial Tower; though Cranford and Matty pharmacies and the Cranford Cake shop have gone.

Literary pilgrims over many years have come to visit Cranford and the last resting place of the author, Elizabeth Gaskell. In 1913 a group of 4 American tourists were delighted to start and finish their tour of Britain here. They stayed at
The Angel :

‘ . . an inn of peacefulness, where in the evening you are given a private sitting room with a blazing coal fire . . and where you wake in the morning and look down over the flower boxes into the narrow street.
Cranford itself – that is to say the people of Cranford – take their fame as the home of Miss Matty and her friends with a calm that is almost indifference . . we motored quietly about the long but little town somehow everything is still done quietly and decorously in Cranford . .’

Incidentally their six week tour covered 2, 92 miles and cost less than £10 in petrol! ( Touring Great Britain by Robert Shackleton 1920)

Knutsfordians of today generally know something about the town's Gaskell connections but it more often visitors who are thrilled to pick up Cranford echoes. A booklet of Knutsford and Mrs Gaskell has a map showing the links and an introduction to her life and works ( Heritage Centre etc £2.85)

It i s more than 5 years ago that a BBC rep. came and walked round Knutsford with me to consider filming options. It was soon clear that Victorian days could not be recreated in the town, much as I would hav e loved to see a coach and four rumble down the George Yard and the ladies glide up the oak staircase to watch the magician in the old assembly rooms. Even that part of Knutsford has gone now.

In 1960, for the centenary of Elizabeth Gaskell's birth, there was a splendid costume ball at The George.

Elizabeth Gaskell grew up in the town after her mother's death when she was a year old: Her aunt lived at Heathwaite on Gaskell Avenue, then known just as Heathside. Cattle and horses and ducks grazed on the The Heath except during race week when all the country houses had guests and arrarnged balls; often the gentry raced their own horses.

Articles on Elizabeth Gaskell's life and writings:
       Heathwaite and Heath House 'Local associations with Elizabeth Gaskell by Thomas Beswick" Entrance to Tatton Park
       Wives & Daughters  'Wives and Daughters', Mrs. Gaskell's last novel, is also incomparably her richest and most satisfying... Wives & Daughters
       Controversy and Attack  'North and South' is the second to deal with an industrial theme, and in many ways is Mrs. Gaskell's most interesting book... Charlotte Bronte
       Cranford, Novels and Morals From its first page, 'Cranford' had the grace, clarity and acute perception that go to make a classic... Cranford
       Married Life In Manchester Although Elizabeth and her husband were both Unitarians, the wedding took place in Knutsford Parish Church... Mary Barton
       Early Years And Marriage It is often strange how the ideas we have of people are affected by small and often irrelevant facts. The name of Mrs Gaskell... Tabley House
Books by Elizabeth Gaskell

To order any of the above mentioned titles, or to see more by or about the author click here


© Some images appearing in The Elizabeth Gaskell Series are copyright and may not be used without permission. Special thanks to Val Boston-Davies for permission to use these images.


Wives & Daughters

the long running drama series on PBS, will broadcast "Wives and Daughters" airing on PBS April 1 to 22, 2001 at 9pm ET
click to visit this site

More Gaskell Info

Further information on Elizabeth Gaskell and many other links can be found at:
the gaskell web