2010, Knutsford, Elizabeth Gaskell

Hosted by the Gaskell Society, in Knutsford

The ‘advance guard’ arrived on the Friday afternoon and were treated to a guided visit to Tabley House, followed by tea and cake in the tea rooms.

On the Saturday, we all met up in the Methodist Church Hall – with 28 member societies being represented. Second hand books were on sale and the AGM was followed by an informal buffet lunch, before the talks and walks began. Elizabeth Williams gave a fascinating talk on Elizabeth Gaskell, leading us through the time line of her writings. This was followed by pre-walk talk by the late Joan Leach who led the walk through Knutsford, pointing out the Gaskell connections at various points of interest. The tour ended at Brook Street Chapel, where Mrs Gaskell is buried. The formal dinner on the Saturday evening took place at Cottons Hotel, with the after dinner readings which have now become somewhat of a tradition at ALS dinners!  There was certainly no shortage of readers.

On Sunday, we had an informal and light hearted by Joan on Mrs Gaskell’s Cheshire, after which we split into two groups (one attending morning service at Brook Street Chapel, and the other taking a coach to Plymouth Grove in Manchester, the former home of the Gaskells). At Plymouth Grove, we were told about the Gaskell’s life there, and the enormous restoration project which is being undertaken – followed by more refreshments and books for sale. It really was a good weekend.