The Gaskell Society
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell-(1810-1865)

Biographical Outline and Chronology of Works.

1810 Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson is born in Chelsea on September 29th. Her parents are William Stevenson and his wife Elizabeth Stevenson (nee) Holland

1811 Death of mother, taken to live with her mother’s sister Aunt Hannah Lumb at her home in Knutsford, Cheshire

1825-7 Away at school at "Avonbank", Stratford-upon-Avon.

1828-9 Disappearance of her brother John at sea; Elizabeth goes to live with her father who was ill and her stepmother at Chelsea, London.

1829 22nd March 1829-Elizabeth’s father dies.

1832 Marries Rev. William Gaskell at St John’s Parish Church Knutsford.

Moves to Manchester where he was Assistant Minister at Cross Street Chapel. They begin married life living at 14 Dover Street in the Ardwick district of Manchester.

1833 Stillbirth of daughter.

1834 Birth of a daughter, Marianne.

1837 Poem, Sketches Among the Poor. By Mr and Mrs Gaskell appear in Blackwood’s Magazine in January.

1837 Birth of a daughter, Margaret Emily (known as Meta)

c1838-41 Birth and death of a son.

1840 Elizabeth’s account of Clopton Hall published in William Howitt’s Visits to Remarkable Places. She had sent him the description when she had heard that he was planning a book on historic houses.

1842 Birth of a daughter, Florence Elizabeth.

The Gaskells move house to 121 Upper Rumford Street in Manchester.

1844 On the 23rd October, birth of a son, William.

1845 On the 10th August, the death of baby William occurs of Scarlet Fever while the family are on holiday in Portmadoc, North Wales.

1845-48 Elizabeth collapses after her son’s death. Searching desperately for something to distract her from her grief, her husband William encourages her to write a novel. (This was to become Mary Barton.)

1846 Birth of a daughter, Julia Bradford.

1847 Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras published in Howitt’s Journal.

1848 Her first novel Mary Barton was published. Christmas Storms and Sunshine appeared in Howitt’s Journal.

1849 Meets Dickens and other literary figures on a visit to London.
Hand and Heart appears in the Sunday School Penny Magazine; The Last Generation in England appears in Sartain’s Union Magazine, USA.

1850 The Gaskell family move to their final family home in Manchester, 42 (now 84) Plymouth Grove.

1850 The Moorland Cottage is published
Invited by Dickens to contribute to Household Words in which appears, Lizzie Leigh, The Well of Pen Morfa and The Heart of John Middleton.

Elizabeth Gaskell meets Charlotte Bronte for the first time.

1851 First episode of Cranford appears in Household Words. Mr Harrison’s Confessions is published in The Ladies’ Companion.

Charlotte Bronte visits the Gaskells in Manchester.

1852 The Schah’s English Gardener and The Old Nurse’s Story appear in Household Words and Bessy’s Trouble at Home in the Sunday School Penny Magazine.

1853 Cranford and Ruth published.
Cumberland Sheep-Shearers, Traits and Stories of The Hugenots, Morton Hall, My French Master and The Squire’s Story, all appear in Household Words.

Visits Charlotte Bronte at Haworth.

Visits Madame Mohl in Paris.

1854 North and South begins serialization in Household Words where Modern Greek Songs, and Company Manners, are also published.

William Gaskell becomes Minister of Cross Street Chapel.

1855 North and South and Lizzie Leigh and Other Stories published. An Accursed Race and Half a Lifetime Ago appear in Household Words.

1855 31st March, Charlotte Bronte dies.

The Reverend Patrick Bronte asks her to write a biography of Charlotte’s life.

1855-6 Elizabeth Gaskell prepares The Life of Charlotte Bronte.

1856 The Poor Clare appeared in Household Words

1857 The Life of Charlotte Bronte is published. It is quickly followed by a third edition 'revised and corrected.'

1858 My Lady Ludlow, Right at Last, and The Manchester Marriage, appear in Household Words and The Doom of The Griffiths, in Harper’s Magazine.

1859 Round the Sofa and Other Tales published. Lois the Witch, and The Crooked Branch, appear in Dickens new magazine All The Year Round.

1860 Right at Last and Other Tales, published. Curious, if True, appears in Cornhill Magazine.

1861 The Grey Woman appears in All The Year Round.

1862 Overstrains herself organising relief for Manchester’s destitute.

1863 Sylvia’s Lover’s published. A Dark Night’s Work, An Italian Institution, The Cage at Cranford, and Crowley Castle, appeared in All the Year Round and Cousin Phillis, in the Cornhill Magazine.

1864 French Life, published in Fraser’s Magazine.
Wives and Daughters begins to be serialized in Cornhill Magazine.

1865 Cousin Phillis and Other Tales, and The Grey Woman and Other Tales. published.

Buys a house, The Lawn, near Holybourne, Hampshire.
While staying there, she dies suddenly on the 12th November
1865. On the 16th November she is taken north to Knutsford, Cheshire, and is laid to rest in the churchyard of Brook Street Unitarian Chapel, Knutsford.

1866 The unfinished Wives and Daughters is published posthumously with a note written by Frederick Greenwood, the editor of the Cornhill Magazine, in which he writes of how he thinks Mrs Gaskell had intended to end her novel.

In the final paragraph of his note, he pays personal homage to Elizabeth Gaskell saying:-“It is unnecessary to demonstrate to those who know what is and what is not true literature that Mrs Gaskell was gifted with some of the choicest faculties bestowed upon mankind; that these grew into greater strength and ripened into greater beauty in the decline of her days; and that she has gifted us with some, the truest, purest works of fiction in the language. And she was herself what her works show her to have been- a wise good woman.

1884 Reverend William Gaskell dies on 11th June, aged 78. He is buried beside his wife at Brook Street Unitarian Chapel in Knutsford.

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William Gaskell
Inside brook St Chapel Knutsford
"Avonbank" Stratford-upon-Avon
Inside brook St Chapel Knutsford
Inside Brook St Chapel,
Inside brook St Chapel Knutsford
Cross St Chapel, Manchester, 1856
Sketch of Silverdale by Meta Gaskell
A Victorian family, 1850
Sketch of Silverdale by Meta Gaskell
Charles Dickens
Inside brook St Chapel Knutsford
Charlotte Bronte, by Evert A. Duyckinck. After a drawing 1873
Sketch of Silverdale by Meta Gaskell
Sketch of Silverdale
by Meta Gaskell