The Gaskell Society
Meetings & Events

The Gaskell Society's New Year Lunch
Wednesday, 14 January, 2015
The Cottons Hotel, Manchester Road, Knutsford,
12 for 12.30pm.

If you would like to attend please email Janet Kennerley before 20 December 2014 - janetkennerley@hotmail.com
Prior booking and payment of £20 for the lunch is essential by cash or a cheque payable to The Gaskell Society.  It is possible to register at the next Knutsford meeting on 26 November or at the December Cross Street meeting.

We have not yet organised any after-lunch entertainment. If anyone has any ideas for this-or wants to volunteer their services, please contact Pam Griffiths - pam.griffiths@talktalk.net
Otherwise we may engage a professional musician, which will incur a small extra charge-£1-£2.

Mary Barton Study Day
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove, M13 9LW

10.00: Registration and coffee

10.30: An introductory talk by Professor Angus Easson on Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel, Mary Barton

11.30:  Dr. Michael Sanders will speak on Chartism in Mary Barton

12.30: Lunch

2.00: Alan Shelston:  'A Tale of Two Cities: Manchester and Liverpool in Mary Barton.' 'This talk will focus on both cities  at a critical historical moment in their development., drawing on Elizabeth Gaskell's personal knowledge of both of them.'

The day will finish with a recital of his own poems by our talented member, Edwin Stockdale and ballads sung by Jennifer Reid: “The ballads reveal intimate detail about the Victorian North. I believe Elizabeth Gaskell's House would be the perfect place to include them, as they are all from between 1810 and 1860 onwards and cover almost the same topics and areas mentioned in Mary Barton.”

The cost of the whole day, including lunch, is only £30, students £20

To reserve a place, please ring Ms. Christine Lingard  01625 611517
then send payment to Ms. Christine Lingard 5 Moran Crescent, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 8JJ

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 libbytempest@aol.com

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  

This session will start again on Wednesday 29 October 2014 and we will begin by discussing A Dark Night's Work.

Cost, including lunch: £9 members, £10 visitors.
Without lunch £3, members, £4 visitors. Pay on the day.
Visitors welcome.

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
frantwinn@aflex.net


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

Saturday, 12 April, 2014, 2.30pm. 
Dr Patsy Stoneman will speak to us on Such a Life…’Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte – most appropriate as we will have had our discussion groups on the Biography.   The lecture will be held as always at the BRLSI, Queens Square, Bath, and there will be a charge of £2 for members and £4 for non-members.  Coffee and tea will be available after the lecture.

Sunday, 7 September, 2014, 12.30 pm

We will hold our Summer Lunch party at the home of Boyd and Elizabeth Schlenther, 14 Vellore Lane, Bath, and as usual it will be a Bring and Share event.

Saturday, 15 November 2014, 2.30pm
It will be our pleasure to welcome back to Bath Elizabeth Williams, Vice Chairwoman of the national Gaskell Society, to talk to us about Fanny Trollope, another interesting Victorian author.  The meeting will be at the usual venue of the BRLSI, Queen’s Square in Bath, and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there. The cost will be £2 for members of the Gaskell Society and the BRLSI and £4 for all others.  Coffee and tea will be available after the lecture.

As a ‘taster’ for next year, our book for discussion in February will be Cranford and the date will be announced later.

Any queries to Elizabeth Schlenther, 14 Vellore Lane, Bath, BA2 6JQ.

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