ELIZABETH GASKELL'S HOUSE AT 84, PLYMOUTH GROVE,
MANCHESTER

Grid Ref: 53°27 49″North: 2°13 16″West
Date: 20 June and 16 July 2009

 

In 2009, The Lindow Photographic Group were invited to do a shoot at Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell's house at 84 Plymouth Grove, before it was refurbished. The house dates from about 1838. You can see how it looks now on the house's website. When we went in 2009, the house was empty and in poor condition. The weather was dull on 20 June, the day assigned, so I returned a month later on a better day only to find the view of the front partially obscured by vehicles.

There is a Wikipedia article on 84 Plymouth Grove, from which I quote from the opening paragraph.

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.

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. However, in May 2011 their project was marred by the theft of the lead roof, which caused "extensive damage". On completion of the £2.5m restoration, the building was reopened to the public on 5 October 2014.

By happy coincidence, in 2011, I was invited to give a talk at a meeting of the Gaskell Society in Knutsford. It was called 'Uncle Peter and Cousin Henry' and was on Mrs. Gaskell's uncle, Peter Holland, apothecary and surgeon of Knutsford, and his son, Sir Henry Holland, physician, socialite and traveller. It was given at the Methodist Hall on 24th September. The talk was based on my research into the medical men of Knutsford which is shown in part on my History of Medicine Pages. An article on Peter Holland is included in my Cheshire pages. An abridged version has been published in 'Cheshire Ancestor' the magazine of the Family History Society of Cheshire, Volume 30 Issue No. 2, page 27, December 1999.

 

  Gaskell House  
  84 Plymouth Grove in June 2009  
  Gaskell House  
  The Rear of the house in July 2009  


 

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