|84 Plymouth Grove|
The front facade of 84 Plymouth Grove, now known as Elizabeth Gaskell's House
|Former names||42 Plymouth Grove|
|Alternative names||Gaskell House|
|Owner||Manchester Historic Buildings Trust|
|Design and construction|
84 Plymouth Grove, now known as Elizabeth Gaskell's House, is a writer's house museum in Manchester.The Grade II* listed neoclassical villa was the residence of William and Elizabeth Gaskell from 1850 till their deaths in 1884 and 1865 respectively. The Gaskell household continued to occupy the villa after the deaths of Elizabeth and William. The death of Elizabeth Gaskell's daughter, Margaret Emily "Meta" Gaskell, in 1913, brought to an end the Gaskells' residence there.
Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 534,982 as of 2018. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.9 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.3 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.
A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, Cadw in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.
Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style principally derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles, and the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio.
The house's architecture style is unusual in Manchester. The house itself was granted listed building status in 1952, partly due to its association with the Gaskells. This granted it protection from demolition, however, 84 Plymouth Grove slowly descended into a state of disrepair due to neglect.
The architecture of Manchester demonstrates a rich variety of architectural styles. The city is a product of the Industrial Revolution and is known as the first modern, industrial city. Manchester is noted for its warehouses, railway viaducts, cotton mills and canals - remnants of its past when the city produced and traded goods. Manchester has minimal Georgian or medieval architecture to speak of and consequently has a vast array of 19th and early 20th-century architecture styles; examples include Palazzo, Neo-Gothic, Venetian Gothic, Edwardian baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Neo-Classical.
The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust commenced a restoration project in 2009, aiming to see 84 Plymouth Grove returned to its state as the Gaskells left it. By 2011, the Trust had finished the exterior, which included structural repairs and removing the pink paint that had coated the house for various years. However, in May 2011 their project was marred by the theft of the lead roof, which caused "extensive damage" according to the BBC.On completion of the £2.5m restoration, the building was reopened to the public on 5 October 2014.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 22,000 staff in total, more than 16,000 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
84 Plymouth Grove was designed in the Greek Revival style,probably by architect Richard Lane, circa 1838, and was speculatively built as part of a wider development catering to the burgeoning middle-classes in the area, then on the outskirts of the city. The villa comprised drawing and dining rooms, seven bedrooms and a coach house wing. The lavish house was built in response to the newly emerging middle class citizens of Manchester. The city, which had rapidly expanded due to the industrial revolution, held various degrees of housing, ranging from, poverty-ridden slum housing to the new era of luxurious housing such as 84 Plymouth Road.
Richard Lane was a distinguished English architect of the early and mid-19th century. Born in London and based in Manchester, he was known in great part for his restrained and austere Greek-inspired classicism. He also designed a few buildings – mainly churches – in the Gothic style. He was also known for masterplanning and designing many of the houses in the exclusive Victoria Park estate.
The term middle class was coined by James Bradshaw in a 1745 pamphlet Scheme to prevent running Irish Wools to France. The term has had various, even contradictory, meanings. In medieval European feudal society, a "middle class" composed primarily of peasants who formed a new "bourgeoisie" based on the success of their mercantile ventures, eventually overthrew the ruling monarchists of their society and ultimately led to the rise of capitalist societies.
The design is striking; the house contains twenty rooms on two floors over a concealed basement with a front porch containing four columns carved with a lotus leaf shape, reminiscent of the Tower of the Winds in Athens.Stucco features on the front facade of the house. Despite the house's facade having a pink coat for years, earning it the nickname 'The Pink House', during the times of Elizabeth Gaskell the walls were described as a "stone-colour".
The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes is an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower in the Roman Agora in Athens that functioned as a horologion or "timepiece". It is considered the world's first meteorological station. Unofficially, the monument is also called Aerides, which means Winds. The structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane. It was supposedly built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources, might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum. In summer of 2014, the Athens Ephorate of Antiquities began cleaning and conserving the structure; restoration work was completed in August 2016.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.
Stucco or render is a construction material made of aggregates, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture. Stucco may be used to cover less visually appealing construction materials, such as metal, concrete, cinder block, or clay brick and adobe.
Elizabeth and William, along with their children, Marianne, Margaret Emily "Meta", Florence, and Julia, moved into the house (then numbered 42 Plymouth Grove) in June 1850, after the publication of Elizabeth's first novel, Mary Barton .However, they had lived in Manchester for some time previously as William Gaskell's job of assistant Minister at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, required the family to move from Knutsford, in neighbouring Cheshire. The family had stayed at two different locations in Manchester, both of which have now been demolished.
Mary Barton is the first novel by English author Elizabeth Gaskell, published in 1848. The story is set in the English city of Manchester between 1839 and 1842, and deals with the difficulties faced by the Victorian working class. It is subtitled "A Tale of Manchester Life".
Cross Street Chapel is a Unitarian church in central Manchester, England. It is a member of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, the umbrella organisation for British Unitarians. Its present minister is Cody Coyne.
Knutsford is a town in Cheshire, England, 14 miles (23 km) south-west of Manchester and 9 miles (14 km) north-west of Macclesfield. The population at the 2011 Census was 13,191.
84 Plymouth Grove's spacious accommodation concerned Gaskell, who, despite calling the house "a beauty", was concerned about residing in such an expensive house (the rent was £150 per annum) while others lived in poverty.Despite Elizabeth's concerns, the Gaskells were not frugal, with the twenty room house costing half of William's salary in rent. Elizabeth, feeling guilty, justified it by stating, "It is [William] who is to decide on all these things". Until the birth of their children they required only one servant, Betsy, however, at Plymouth Grove much more domestic staff were employed, including a cook, several maids, a handyman for outdoor work, as well as a washerwoman and a seamstress. Elizabeth trained her staff and looked after their welfare whilst they were employed at the house.
Charlotte Brontë, who visited the house three times between 1851 and 1854, described it as "a large, cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke".The "Manchester smoke", as Brontë described it, was generated from the hundreds of textile factories and cotton mills situated within the inner city, in particular the Ancoats area. In the 1850s there were over 100 mills in Manchester. On one occasion, the meek Brontë even hid behind the curtains in Gaskells' drawing room as she was too shy to meet the other guests.
Barbara Brill, biographer of William Gaskell, stated that "Plymouth Grove could be likened to the activities of a beehive", am, much to the dismay of Elizabeth, who mentioned it to be "far too early". John Ruskin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, American writer Charles Eliot Norton and conductor Charles Hallé also visited Elizabeth Gaskell at Plymouth Grove. Hallé visited the house often, teaching Meta Gaskell how to play the piano.due to the Gaskells entertaining many guests whilst living at the house. Besides Brontë, visitors to the house during Elizabeth Gaskell's lifetime included Charles Dickens, who, on one occasion in 1852, made an impromptu visit to the house, along with his wife at 10
Gaskell lived at Plymouth Grove with her family until her death 15 years later, in 1865, and all of her later books were written there, including some of her most famous works, such as Cranford and North and South . Gaskell died in Alton, Hampshire, in a house she had just secretly purchased, without informing William.She had planned to entice William into leaving Manchester and retiring there, but she collapsed suddenly in the arms of Meta, and died on 12 November 1865. Her husband, William Gaskell, a Unitarian minister and educationalist, survived Elizabeth by nearly two decades, dying in 1884 of bronchitis. Upon his death, his two surviving unmarried daughters, Meta and Julia, lived in the house (his two other daughters, Marianne and Florence, had both married, though Florence died 3 years prior to William's death). The two sisters continued living at Plymouth Grove and both were involved in various charitable causes throughout their lives. Julia, despite being the youngest, died before Meta, in October 1908, leaving Meta Gaskell alone at 84 Plymouth Grove.
Suggestion That Manchester Make It a Literary Museum
LONDON, 28 Jan..—A suggestion made by Derwent Simpson, and supported by The Manchester Guardian, is that the home of the Gaskell family in Plymouth Grove, Manchester, should be bought by the Manchester Corporation and be made a literary museum.
|— 8 February 1914, The New York Times|
In 1913 Meta Gaskell, the last of the Gaskells residing at Plymouth Grove, died, ending the family's 63 year occupancy of the villa.Meta was not, however, the last living Gaskell daughter. Marianne Gaskell, the eldest child, married, had three children and lived until 1920. Many suggested that the house become a public museum dedicated to Gaskell and her literary works, with the idea being supported by The Manchester Guardian .
The New York Times stated that the conversion to a museum could be achieved at "small expense", as it could sell some of the land belonging to the house for development.Despite the suggestion, the idea was rejected by the local authority, with The Manchester Guardian quoting them as stating, "The house belonged to one of the ugliest periods of architecture and was of no value beyond its association with the Gaskell family." Hopes of turning 84 Plymouth Grove into a museum were soon extinguished, and the house was simply left there. The University of Manchester purchased the building in 1969, converting it for use by the International Society. The university relinquished the building in 2000.
The house was listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England in February 1952.
The building was purchased in 2004 by the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust, with the aim of restoring the building and allowing it to be opened to the public. A blue commemorative plaque on the front of the house reads: "Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810–1865) Novelist and authoress of Mary Barton and Cranford and many other works lived here (1850–1865)". In 2006, the house was in a very poor state of repair with severe structural problems,and was listed on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register. An article in The Independent noted the state of disrepair: "Structural cracks run through the walls, the foundations have to be underpinned, the whole roof replaced and dry rot eradicated, while the entire building must be restored and upgraded."
Restoration work began in September 2009.The house stands within a five-minute walk of Victoria Baths, another Victorian-era landmark requiring substantial restoration. The villa was given a £750,000 restoration of its exterior and new roof was placed on the house in 2010. Lead was used at the insistence of English Heritage. However, in May 2011, metal thieves stole most of the lead from the new roof, which caused £250,000 worth of damage in the process and allowed rainwater into the house. The remaining lead was removed from the roof to deter any further thefts and a new roof constructed in its place.
Work on the first phase of restoration, which fixed the roof, drains and structural damage,finished in February 2013, with most of the external work complete and the building made water-tight. During this time, the pink paint covering the house was stripped off and replaced with an off-white colour.
In June 2012 it was announced that a grant of £1.85 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund had been secured, allowing restoration of the house's interior to take place.The funding paid for the restoration of the bedrooms and reception rooms and created a visitor learning area. The lottery grant was also used to help restore the house's garden, where the Gaskells once kept pigs, poultry and a cow.
The ground floor of the house has been fully restored in the style of an authentic Victorian home.Curators of the house researched what 84 Plymouth Grove would have looked like during the Gaskells' residence and borrowed a number of period items of furniture from the Manchester's art galleries and the John Rylands Library in order to recreate the Gaskells' study and other rooms. Heritage experts from the Whitworth Art Gallery were consulted to help find the right wallpaper and paint colours that would have been used in the house at the time. Armitage Construction, a specialist heritage firm founded in 1874, restored the decorative plasterwork and carpentry in the house using traditional lime plaster and woodworking techniques from the period. In February 2014 the renovators of the house were seeking a donation of a mid-19th century Broadwood demi grand piano—the model that Charles Hallé used to teach Elizabeth Gaskell's daughters at the house—for the drawing room of 84 Plymouth Grove.
The upstairs of the house has a number of rooms and performance spaces dedicated to educational work, literary and community events.Gaskell House reopened to the public on 5 October 2014. Curators of 84 Plymouth Grove hope that literary tourism will benefit the house, and make it a destination similar Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon or the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian society, including the very poor, and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848. Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë, published in 1857, was the first biography of Brontë. In this biography, she only wrote of the moral, sophisticated things in Brontë’s life; the rest she left out, deciding that certain, more salacious aspects were better kept hidden. Among Gaskell's best known novels are Cranford (1851–53), North and South (1854–55), and Wives and Daughters (1865), each having been adapted for television by the BBC.
Chiswick House is a Palladian villa in Chiswick, in the west of London, England. A "glorious" example of Neo-Palladian architecture in London, the house was built and designed by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), and completed in 1729. The house and gardens occupy 26.33 hectares ; the gardens were created mainly by architect and landscape designer William Kent. The garden is one of the earliest examples of the English landscape garden.
Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton, FRS was an English poet, patron of literature and politician.
Manchester Victoria station in Manchester, England is a combined mainline railway station and Metrolink tram stop. Situated to the north of the city centre on Hunts Bank, close to Manchester Cathedral, it adjoins Manchester Arena which was constructed on part of the former station site in the 1990s. Opened in 1844 and part of the Manchester station group, Victoria is Manchester's busiest railway station after Piccadilly and Oxford Road and the busiest station managed by Northern after Oxford Road.
Chorlton-on-Medlock is an inner city area of Manchester, England.
Manchester Cathedral, formally the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George, in Manchester, England, is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Manchester, seat of the Bishop of Manchester and the city's parish church. It is on Victoria Street in Manchester city centre.
The Vyne is a 16th-century estate and country house outside Sherborne St John near Basingstoke in Hampshire, England. It is a Grade I listed building.
Patrick Brontë was an Irish Anglican priest and author who spent most of his adult life in England. He was the father of the writers Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, and of Branwell Brontë, his only son. Patrick outlived his wife, the former Maria Branwell, by forty years, by which time all of their children had died as well.
Botusfleming or Botus Fleming is a village and civil parish in southeast Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The 2001 census gives the parish population as 783,which decreased to 771 at the 2011 census. The village is about three miles north-west of Saltash at grid reference. There is a public house, a market garden and a small colony of artists, but the village is mostly a dormitory area for Plymouth.
The Church and Friary of St Francis, known locally as Gorton Monastery, is a 19th-century former Franciscan friary in Gorton, Manchester, England. The Franciscans arrived in Gorton in December 1861 and built their friary between 1863 and 1867. Most of the building work was done by the friars themselves, with a brother acting as clerk of works. The foundation stone for the church was laid in 1866 and completed in 1872; it closed for worship in 1989. It is a prominent example of High Victorian Gothic architecture, and has been listed with Grade II* status since 1963. It was designed by Edward Welby Pugin (1834–1875), whose father, A.W.N. Pugin, promoted the revival of Gothic as the style of architecture which was the ideal expression of Catholic faith and worship in church buildings.
"A House to Let" is a short story by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Procter. It was originally published in 1858 in the Christmas edition of Dickens' Household Words magazine. Collins wrote the introduction and collaborated with Dickens on the second story and ending, while Gaskell and Proctor wrote the remainder.
The Reverend William Gaskell was an English Unitarian minister, charity worker and pioneer in the education of the working class. The husband of novelist and biographer Elizabeth Gaskell, he was himself a writer and poet.
There are 24 public libraries in Manchester, England, including the famous Central Library in St Peter’s Square. As of 2012 Central Library is closed for refurbishment, but will reopen on 22 March 2014.
The Upper Brook Street Chapel, also known as the Islamic Academy, the Unitarian Chapel and the Welsh Baptist Chapel, is a former chapel with an attached Sunday School on the east side of Upper Brook Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Greater Manchester, England. It is said to be the first neogothic Nonconformist chapel, having been constructed for the British Unitarians between 1837 and 1839, at the very beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria. It was designed by Sir Charles Barry, later architect of the Palace of Westminster.
The Mallory–Neely House is a historic residence on 652 Adams Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. It is located in the Victorian Village district of Memphis. It has been identified as one of numerous contributing properties in the historic district.
The Museum of Wigan Life is a public museum and local history resource centre in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. The nineteenth-century listed building is by the noted architect Alfred Waterhouse. It originally housed Wigan Library, where George Orwell researched his book The Road to Wigan Pier in 1936.
The General Post Office, situated on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets in Melbourne, is the former General Post Office for Victoria.
The Gaskell Memorial Tower and King's Coffee House are in King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, England. As originally built, it had the triple function of being council offices, a coffee house, and a memorial to the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, a former resident of the town who is often known as Mrs Gaskell. The building was designed by Richard Harding Watt with assistance from W. Longworth, and was opened in 1907. Its design incorporates features of many styles of architecture, and has not been praised by all critics. Incorporated on the tower are two depictions of Mrs Gaskell, a stone bust and a bronze relief. The building is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building. The building is owned by Knutsford Town Council but since the early 1970s it has been used as a restaurant.
Villa Guardamangia, formerly known as Casa Medina and sometimes referred to as Casa Guardamangia, is a 16,791 square feet (1,559.9 m2) townhouse in Gwardamanġa, Pietà, Malta, which served as the residence of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, between 1949 and 1951, while Philip was stationed in Malta as a naval officer.
Brill, Barbara (1984). William Gaskell, 1805–1884: A Portrait. Manchester Literary and Philosophical Publications. ISBN 0-902428-05-5.
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