Elizabeth Gaskell House

Elizabeth Gaskell House is in Plymouth Grove, Manchester and was a home of, obviously, Elizabeth Gaskell, the writer, who lived here between 1850 and 1865. After recently reading her book North and South, I thought I should go and see it, so I did.

And here’s the pics:

This is the study of William Gaskell, Elizabeth’s husband, a Unitarian minister, teacher and and all round remarkable person.

The drawing room:

Pictures on the wall in the drawing room. Portrait of Elizabeth on the left, the one on the right you may recognise as fellow Victorian author Charlotte Brontë , who was Elizabeth’s friend. After Charlotte’s death, Elizabeth wrote The Life of Charlotte Brontë, biography of Charlotte on request of Charlotte’s father Patrick Brontë. (My Haworth Parsonage post is here, if interested.)

The dining room:

Table in the dining room where Elizabeth did her writing work:

The contents of the house are not originals. Elizabeth and William had four daughters, two of whom never married and lived here till their death. The last one, Margaret, nicknamed Meta, died in 1913 and after that the house and its contents were sold. Later, the house was used as accommodation for students (Plymouth Grove is not far from the universities), until it was acquired by Manchester Historic Buildings Trust and reconstructed to look as much as possible as how it did during Elizabeth’s life.

The Gaskells used to have a lot of famous visitors, aside from Charlotte Brontë these included Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens and John Ruskin. You look at that nice tea set and think, hmmm, I bet there was a lot of tea spilt!

Here’s the link the Elizabeth Gaskell House website, which has all the info.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s books are all now in public domain so you can read them for free or download them from Gutenberg. I’ve only read North and South so far, it’s her most famous novel and it’s a fantastic story but… on my dears, 19th century literature is… well, 19th century literature. Why use two words when you can use twenty in a sentence, eh? I don’t think I’m ever going to not struggle with it *long sigh*. But in the case of North and South, it’s worth it. The 2004 miniseries is pretty good too and it’s on Netflix, so go check it out. (Also, Richard Armitage as the love interest Mr Thornton, need I say more?)

Have you read any Elizabeth Gaskell? Have you visited the house? Tell me in the comments!

Nature Being Silly

When I looked at the pictures I took last time at Heaton Park, it seemed to me they were telling a story.

Branch pointing out your direction, in duplicate. If you get lost it’s your fault.

This, whatever-plant-this-is is dancing. Maybe it’s taking tips from the dancing tree, after all it grows only yards away from it.

Swans having a conversation.

Swan 1: The seagulls always steal all the bread and then they have a go at us.

Swan 2: Greedy bastards.

Geese doing an epic walk, or I should say an epic swim.

Cactus

I forgot to share with you that I bought a cactus.

It’s the first plant I ever bought in my adult life. I figured a cactus will be easy to look after. This photograph is two months old but the cactus is still thriving, so at least I know I’m more nurturing than a desert.

I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, Damn. I am less nurturing than a desert.

Demetri Martin

Random and Weird Phone Shots – Abandoned Shoes

I was passing through Albert Square one day when I spotted these on the steps of the statue of Prince Albert.

Of course, a pair of shoes lying about is probably not such a phenomenon. Like, people may get drunk and lose their shoes (or at least I think they do, I wouldn’t know, I don’t drink but Ed Sheeran mentions it in one of his songs and that’s as good an authority as any) but notice how neatly they have been laid there on the step. You may have heard of the famous six-word story that goes: For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. Attributed to Hemingway, but this is disputed. So, what if you did a similar thing based on this photo?

Found. Pair of shoes. Very worn.

It was shoes in strange places that started this very series so I’m glad we’ve come the full circle.

Chester

The name of this city is the same as the one I live in, without the Man bit. It lies close to the border with Wales and was founded by old Romans as their fortress.

So I went there are took a lot of pictures and managed to narrow them down to eight. And there will still be a separate post for the Chester Cathedral.

The architecture:

The castle:

Old Dee Bridge – bridge on the River Dee.

Bandstand on the riverside.

The Walls:

Roman Amphitheatre, or what’s left of it. The church in the background is St John the Baptist.

Eastgate Clock:

This city seems to have a lot of tourists, which is not surprising and it definitely made me feel not-stupid walking around with a camera, as I wasn’t the only one.