The Gaskell Society
Meetings & Events

Gaskell Society Conference 2015
17-20 July, 2015

The conference this year will be held at Cober Hill Hotel and Conference Centre, Cloughton, Scarborough.

The title of our conference this year is Coming to a Conclusion in which we are looking at the later years of Elizabeth Gaskell’s life, in this the 150th anniversary year of her death. We will be visiting Whitby, the setting for Sylvia’s Lovers and visiting Scarborough, where Anne Bronte is buried.

Further details will be included in the booking form which will be enclosed with the Spring Newsletter, which members will receive towards the end of February.

Gaskell Society AGM, 2015
Saturday, 18 April, 2015
Cross Street Chapel, Manchester.

10.00 am-10.30 am: Tea and Coffee

10.45 am: AGM

12.00 noon: The Daphne Carrick Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Dr.Rebecca Styler, Editor of the Gaskell Journal, taking as her title, Elizabeth Gaskell's Maternal Theology. Setting Elizabeth Gaskell in the context of contemporary debates on the re-gendering of God, this talk considers the theological implications of her literary works, through which she imagined the divine in terms of motherhood. Works discussed include Cranford, Lizzie Leigh and Ruth.

1.00 pm (approx): Lunch

2.30 pm: Frank Galvin, former director of Stockport Museums and Vice-chairman of Manchester Historic Buildings Trust, will speak on Bringing Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Back To Life. Frank was very involved in sourcing items for the restoring of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
£15 with lunch or £7.50 without lunch.
Booking forms for this will also be included with the newsletter.

Manchester Meetings
Gaskell Society Meetings at Cross Street Chapel

The Manchester meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of
the month, at 1pm in Percival Suite, Cross Street Chapel, Manchester
(near The Royal Exchange Theatre)

The cost for the lectures is £3: members and £4: visitors.
Visitors are always welcome!

The Chapel will usually be open at 12 o’clock so that you can bring
in lunch from one of the local sandwich bars-or bring your own!

Tuesday October 7, 2014
Dr Robert Poole: The Pendle Witches

The 1612 trial of the Lancashire (or Pendle) witches was England's biggest peacetime witch trial. The Victorian revival of interest began in the late 1840s, with the publication by the Chetham Society of Thomas Potts' 1612 account of the trial inspiring Harrison Ainsworth's bestselling novel The Lancashire Witches. This illustrated lecture will discuss both the trial and attitudes to witchcraft in Gaskell's day

Robert Poole was consultant historian to the 400th anniversary commemoration of the trial in 2012 and has published a modern edition of Potts's Wonderful Discovery of Witches.

Tuesday November 4, 2014
Dr Simon Rennie: ‘Ernest Jones’s class negotiations through literature during the Chartist period’

For a few short years towards the end of their respective lives, Ernest Charles Jones (1819-69) and Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) lived in Manchester at the same time. Both were members of the middle class lauded for their efforts on behalf of the working class through their literary interventions, but the models of their relationship with a different social class could not be more different. Whilst a recent critical work has suggested that Gaskell’s novel North and South ‘acknowledges that the cultivated elite can do no more than seek to cultivate intercourse between entrepreneurs and workers’, Ernest Jones immersed himself in political activism, and in some senses began to identify with the working class.

Dr. Simon Rennie is an Associate Lecturer in English Literature at MMU.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Dr Michael Sanders: "Of all the good days in the year": Rediscovering Dickens's A Christmas Carol

Everyone knows, or thinks they know, Dickens's A Christmas Carol.  This talk examines the origins of Dickens's most famous novella and the artistic, social and financial motivations behind its creation, to reveal a darker core to this much-loved tale.

This will be followed at 2.15 by a “Carolathon", in aid of the homeless charity, Shelter.

The whole of Dickens' s  A Christmas Carol" is read by a roster of volunteers taking it in turns to read a passage: each passage takes about 5 to 10 minutes. The whole book takes about 3.5 hours including a couple of breaks. In previous years, they've done it in partnership with Central Library and the Friends Meeting House but this year the Gaskell Society and Cross Street Chapel are to be involved.

Mike is hoping that some Gaskell Society members and some audience members might like to read a passage. Reading the novel would then take 3.5 hours and in previous years people have “come and gone” during the reading, but many came back at the end to hear the final passages!

This seems to be an excellent event, so we hope many members would like to be involved. If you wish to do a reading please contact Libby Tempest

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Dr Karen Laird will give a talk on Elizabeth Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Bronte

Two months after the death of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell broached the idea of writing her friend's biography in a letter to publisher George Smith: “Sometime, it may be years hence—but if I live long enough, and no one is living whom such a publication would hurt, I will publish what I know of her, and make the world (if I am strong enough in expression,) honour the woman as much as they have admired the writer.” (Letter from Elizabeth Gaskell to George Smith)). Comparing Gaskell's original motives and intentions for this project with her published biography of 1857, this talk explains the formidable challenges Gaskell faced when composing what would become one of the most important literary biographies of the Victorian era.

Tuesday March 3, 2015
Elizabeth Williams: The Fallen Woman
How does the fallen woman in Victorian fiction differ from the reality of the fallen woman's place in society at that time?

For further information about events held at Cross Street Chapel
visit the website here

Knutsford Meetings
Our meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month at St John’s Parish Rooms, Knutsford, Cheshire.

An excellent buffet lunch is served at 12.15 followed by a talk and discussion, led by Elizabeth Williams which will start about 1.30pm. Meetings finish at 3p.m  
Cost, including lunch: £9 members, £10 visitors.
Without lunch £3, members, £4 visitors. Pay on the day.
Visitors welcome.

Wednesday 28 January, 2015
We will finish our discussion on A Dark Night's Work and begin The Moorland Cottage.

25 March and 29 April t.b.a

General Meetings

London and South East Branch

Provisional Programme for 2014-2015

Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace, London SW1W 8JF
Sandwich lunch will be available from 12.45pm. Meetings begin at 2pm and tea and cake will be served after the meeting. Usually the formal part of the meeting finishes about 3.30pm for those needing to catch trains.

13 September, 2014
Train Trip to Plymouth Grove
to see Gaskell’s newly refurbished home.

Cancelled - 8 November, 2014
Dr. Rebecca Styler, Editor of the Gaskell Journal.
The Maternal Image of God 1840 to 1920 
The talk will reflect Gaskell’s work.

7 February, 2015
Dr. Ann Brooks and Bryan Haworth.
The other side of Manchester
They will put Manchester in a social context. Their research has focused on Manchester so they are knowledgeable about the city in Gaskell’s time.

9 May, 2015
Dr Irene Wiltshire 
The letters of Mrs Gaskell’s daughters 1856 -1914
These letters have been compiled and edited by Irene and were published this year by Humanities – Ebooks. She will talk to us about her work and the letters.

Further information from Dr Fran Twinn,
85 Calton Avenue, Dulwich, London SE21 7DF

The Gaskell Society South-West
Events are held in Bath.

Saturday, 21 February 2015, 2.15 pm 
We will hold our discussion group on Cranford, and there will be only the one session.  It will be held at Bren Abercrombie’s house, 12 Mount Road, Lansdown.  The cost will be £3 per person, and we ask that the fee be brought on the day.  Numbers will be limited to 12 participants. 
Please phone Bren on 01225 471241 to book your place.

Sunday, 22 March 2015, 3.00 – 5.00 pm
at St Mary’s Church Hall, Bathwick
By popular demand, we will have another literary quiz with homemade cake and tea.  The quiz will cover the years 1800 to 1920, and as last year, there will many many categories and much fun!  The cost will be £7.50 per person, and we request that you bring the money on the day.  Parking will be available. Elizabeth Schlenther will take bookings.

Saturday, 18 April, 2015, 2.30 pm 
Ann Brooks will speak to us on Manchester: ‘Down these mean streets, and the meeting will be held as usual at the BRLSI in Queens’s Square, Bath.  We are very lucky to have Ann as a local member of the group, and she has given us interesting lectures before.  The cost for the afternoon will be £2 to members of the Gaskell Society and BRLSI and £4 to all others.

Summer lunch  The details for this will also be forthcoming.

Any queries to Elizabeth Schlenther, 14 Vellore Lane, Bath, BA2 6JQ,
or via email:

Study Tours

To be announced.

Other Events

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Mrs Gaskell 1864
Knutsford, Cheshire 1800s
Cross Street Chapel
Manchester 1856
The Gaskell Medallion, Knutsford