Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester is set to reopen its doors to the public after lockdown. The house, which is a restored Victorian middle class house just one mile from the city centre, will reopen on May 19, 2021 and will coincide with the first public reveal of Elizabeth Gaskell’s bedroom.

Following a successful fundraising campaign, the Elizabeth Gaskell bedroom project was launched not long before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has added to the challenges faced by the small volunteer team that has carried out the work. The room has been reimagined over the last 12 months and features a four-poster bed attributed to master makers Gillows of Lancaster and is circa 1785, alongside one of the last pieces of Yorkshire-made ‘Brussels’ looped carpet.

The bedroom has been designed in vibrant colours, including vivid shades of cornflower blue and deep rich reds, as was the taste of the Victorian period. While it’s a comfortable room, it’s not the largest in the house as she saved the biggest bedroom for guests, which included fellow writer Charlotte Brontë. The bedroom was known to be one of Gaskell’s favourite writing spots in the house.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House also features a brand new exhibition, A Love Affair with Cranford, which explores one of Gaskell’s most popular novels. Since it was published in 1851, Cranford has never been out of print, having gained the greatest national and international appeal of all Gaskell’s works.  It is also believed to have been the author’s favourite novel. 

Main images: A selection of Cranford editions at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House will reopen from May 19, 2021 and will then be open every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11:00am to 4:30pm.  This will also be the first time that visitors are able to see Elizabeth’s bedroom, with the new project completed in time for the reopening of the House. Entry is £5.50 for adults and £4.50 for concessions (senior citizens and students).  Tickets can be pre-booked up to two weeks in advance. 

A Love Affair with Cranford will be on at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House from May 19, 2021 until April 30, 2022.