Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell was an Amazing Women and you can follow her history from a number of our local railway stations ….

Elizabeth Gaskell,  née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865) was a novelist and born in London.

From Knutsford Railway Station on The Mid Cheshire Line

After the death of her mother, Elizabeth was sent to live with an aunt in Knutsford.

Elizabeth’s novel Cranford was based on Knutsford and used familiar locations.

In Knutsford there are a number of Blue Plaques recognising Elizabeth.

There is a blue plaque at the Gaskell Memorial Tower (WA16 6EQ) that reads:

“Built in 1907.  Designed for Richard Harding Watt.  Dedicated to Elizabeth Gaskell the 19th century author.”

At 22-24 Princess Street (WA16 6BU) the blue plaque reads:

“This property built in the reign of George I is reputed to have been the fictional home of Miss Matty the principal character in Mrs Gaskell’s ‘Cranford’ and was also the home of Miss Elizabeth Harker upon whom Mrs Gaskell based her ‘Cranford’ character Betty Barker”.

At Hollingford House, Toft Road (WA16 0PD) a blue plaque reads:

“Hollingford House, formerly Church House – home of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Uncle, Dr. Peter Holland and his daughters, Lucy and Mary, thought to be the models for Miss Matty and Miss Jenkyns characters in Mrs Gaskell’s ‘Cranford’.”

Elizabeth died in Holybourne, Hampshire but was buried in Knutsford at Brook Street Chapel. just across from the station.

The blue plaque there reads:

“Brook Street Chapel.  This was built following the Act of Toleration of 1689, which allowed Protestant dissenters to worship in their own Chapels.  Elizabeth Gaskell, the Novelist, is buried in the graveyard.”

Click here to visit Knutsford Railway Station


From Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria Stations

In 1832 she married William Gaskell who was minister of Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester.

They had five children but the only boy, William, died in infancy.

Elizabeth wrote her first novel, Mary Barton, soon after this.

The novel – with its vivid portrayal of Manchester slums – was a great success.

In 1850 the family moved to 84, Plymouth Grove in Longsight, Manchester where Elizabeth wrote her other novels, as well as short stories and novellas.

You can now visit the Museum at Plymouth Street (M13 9LW).

Elizabeth Gaskell House is a rare survival of a Victorian villa.

The house and garden have been beautifully restored.

You can wander through the Gaskell’s family house and see personal items owned by Elizabeth.

The museum have a wide range of events .

Outside the museum you will find a blue plaque that reads:

“Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell  (1810 – 1865)  Novelist and Authoress of ‘Mary Barton’, ‘Cranford’ and many other works lived here  (1849 – 1865).”

There is also a blue plaque at Chapel Walks, Cross Street (M2 1NL) that reads:

“First School and Chapel House  built here 1734  Early meeting place of Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society founded 1781  Elizabeth Gaskell (1810 – 1865) worshipped here.”

Elizabeth is also recognised as a reader at the Portico Library on Charlotte Street where the blue plaque reads:

“Portico Library – 1806   Thomas Harrison architect (1744-1829) Richard Cobden John Dalton Elizabeth Gaskell Sir Robert Peel Thomas De Quincey Peter Mark Roget were readers here.”

Click here to visit Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station

Click here to visit Manchester Victoria Railway Station