The house owned by Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell will reopen in October after a £2.5m overhaul.
Curators of 84 Plymouth Grove hope the venue will become a tourism hotspot bringing thousands of book-loving visitors to Ardwick.
Gaskell who wrote rollicking Victorian novels North and South, Cranford and Mary Barton was one of the most famous writers of her era.
Living at the home for 15 years until her death in 1865, she and her husband entertained some of the greatest celebrities of the day including Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë. But the impressive home had fallen into disrepair over the decades and was last used as student digs.
However it has been restored to its former glory thanks to a lottery windfall - and will re-open its doors in October 2014. Those in charge of the Grade II-listed property hope it will become a firm fixture on the literary tourism map, rivalling Shakespeare’s home of Stratford and the Brontë sister’s home in Haworth, Yorkshire.
The hidden gem has been fully restored on its ground floor to give visitors the feel of an authentic Victorian home. Its gardens have also been re-instated to their former glory.
Upstairs the venue has a number of rooms and performance spaces which will be used to host education work, literary and community events. [...]
Curators have meticulously researched what he house would have looked like when the family resided there.
But they are now looking for a piano to make the room complete.
Trustees are hoping for the donation of a mid-19th century Broadwood demi grand piano to take pride of place in the drawing
room. Renowned conductor Charles Hallé taught Elizabeth Gaskell’s daughters on the same type of piano and it was an important purchase by Elizabeth for the house on Plymouth Grove. The instrument will be used for a full programme of musical and educational events and the donor will be fully credited alongside all the other sponsors of the house.
Gaskell admirers acquired the dilapidated property in 2003, convincing lottery bosses to fund the project in 2012.
Janet Allan, chair of The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust, said: “I am delighted that after a sustained fundraising campaign and extensive restoration work, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House will finally re-open its doors in October.
“We are looking forward to offering a welcoming and immersing experience for visitors.” (Yakub Qureshi) Fight for your loos From the Manchester Evening News. former-house-of-cranford-author
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