Elizabeth Gaskell: The Victorian Author Feeling the Bridgerton Effect (Press This! BBC News)

 

It is 170 years since Elizabeth Gaskell first published her most popular work Cranford but thanks to more recent period dramas, the author’s novels are seeing a surge of interest from new, young fans.” I call it the Bridgerton effect,” says Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, the manager of the museum at the author’s former Manchester home, which is currently hosting an exhibition on her novel.

Source: Elizabeth Gaskell: The Victorian author feeling the Bridgerton effect – BBC News

Wonderful news about a resurgence of interest in Elizabeth Gaskell. I am a fan of her works, some of which you may have seen in TV adaptations and not realized who authored those stories.  Classics such as:

  • North and South
  • Wives and Daughters
  • Cranford

I had the wonderful opportunity during one of my four trips to Manchester, UK to visit the home where she lived and penned many of her stories.  I pulled the same doorknob and Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.  If you would like to see pictures of the interior of the home and read about my visit, visit this link.

Tea at Cranford: Charlotte Bronte and the Great Victorian Tea Fraud (Press This! Elizabeth Gaskell’s House)

I have had the great pleasure of visiting this fine home in Manchester during one of my many trips hunting for my ancestors. If you need a bit of a reminder, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote North & South, Wives & Daughters, Cranford, and other works, many of which have been made into major television series.

During my visit to her home, I pulled the same doorbell as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, standing in the same places. If you would like to see pictures of this fine Georgian residence, please visit my website here for information.

Below is an excerpt from their blog, which always has informative information.  If you like to research the past or love any of the stories Elizabeth penned, you should visit often.  It’s a wonderful place for authors and readers.

Tea plays an integral role in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Cranford. Grown in India, a British colony, and imported by the East India Company, tea became a national beverage which could be found in practically every household. But tea was more than just an infusion of dried leaves it was he beverage that was consistently turned to when spirits were in need of reviving. It is a word that prefixes so many others to indicate its numerous uses and association. Just Read more>>

Source: Tea at Cranford: Charlotte Bronte and the Great Victorian Tea Fraud – elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk

My Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s Home in Manchester

14611071_10209459039224678_4141319221645305828_nI had a wonderful and inspirational experience visiting the home of Elizabeth Gaskell in Manchester, UK, at 84 Plymouth Grove. Her most memorable works were Cranford (1851-53), North & South (1854-55), and Wives & Daughters (1865). She also authored many other works over the years such as short stories and novellas.

After arriving at the home, I was greeted by informative volunteers placed in each of the rooms ready to give visitors the background on the house and the fascinating lives of its former occupants.  The home itself is actually Georgian in design, but the interior, of course, in the mid-1800’s was Victorian. Elizabeth and her husband William moved into the home in 1850 (it was built in 1838). The home has welcomed many to its doors, including Charlotte Bronte and Beatrice Potter,  The narrator told us that the doorbell knob had been pulled by others, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Ruskin, and Charles Dickens who had stayed at the house.  A few of us ran out the front door and pulled the same doorknob to hear the ring and touch the apparatus!

Apparently, the home fell into disrepair and remained empty. It was acquired by Manchester University in 1969, and then by the Manchester Historic Building Trust in 2004. Money was raised to restore the building, and it was reopened in 2011.  Today, there were quite a few visitors.

Elizabeth married William Gaskell in 1832, who was a Unitarian preacher.  His study, located to the right of the front entrance, is filled with books that reminded me of Mr. Hale, the preacher, in North & South. I found it surprising to learn that Elizabeth’s husband was very much like the character of Mr. Hale because he brought poor students into his home to teach them one-on-one. Elizabeth’s husband had also been an inspiration and guide in her developing stories.

The house itself is a beautiful restoration of the residence. Many of the artifacts are original, and you are allowed to touch, sit, and take pictures to your heart’s desire.  Elizabeth sat in her dining room to write, though, she did use other places in the house.  However, her writings indicate that she spent the majority of her time at a round table in the dining room near the window.  The dining room itself is quite large, which a long dining table in front of the fireplace. At the table, were photocopies of original letters from Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte to Elizabeth, but their handwriting was difficult to read. Thankfully, there were readable transcripts of the letters.

In addition to these wonderful historic correspondence pieces (see below), Elizabeth’s writing for her last work, Wives & Daughters, is there for you to pick up and read from her small writing desk.  It is a photocopy of her original work.  She died at the home before finishing this story. It was serialized and her notes indicated that she intended another portion. Apparently, the movie version added an ending they felt was consistent with plans for Roger expressing his feelings.

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Elizabeth and Charlotte Bronte were close friends.  One of Charlotte’s letters to Elizabeth is below regarding what she thought of Elizabeth’s story, Cranford.  A copy of the letter is laing on the dining room table.

 

Below is a slideshow of the interior of the home.

Yesterday, I also went to the British Library in London and saw Jane Austen’s writing desk and a page from her manuscript from Persuasion. What surprised me the most was the size of the paper and the small handwriting! After speaking about it with a tour guide a Gaskell’s home, he stated that paper was an expensive commodity during Jane Austen’s day. I estimate the size of the paper about 5″ x 8″ if not smaller. It was fantastic to see Jane’s penmanship, though tiny, it was readable as the name of Captain Wentworth jumped off the page, making me smile.

Needless to say, these two visits were wonderful. Seeing the home and manuscripts was inspirational, to say the least. I hope you enjoy this post about some of your favorite authors.

One more picture – Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte – two talented authors who have made their mark in history.

Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte

Thank you for letting me share this experience!

Vicki Hopkins, Author