The former home of Elizabeth Gaskell – one of England’s most famous and noteworthy novelists – has officially reopened; transporting ticket-holders to the 19th century.
The grand neoclassical villa on Plymouth Grove is welcoming back guests for grand tours of the venue – offering you the chance to see where Elizabeth wrote some of her most famous novels.
During her residency here from 1850 to 1865, Elizabeth was visited by literary icons like Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë – rendering the Grade-II listed building one of Manchester’s most iconic historical landmarks.
A visit promises to plunge visitors into the Victorian era. And if you want to fully immerse yourself in the period, why not dress the part too?
A lot of elements of Regency fashion are actually very on-trend right now (particularly puffy sleeves and long floaty dresses), and you can easily recreate these looks with your favourite Manchester boutiques.
Here are some of the best fashion offerings putting a modern spin on a century-old look.
Neon Rose has finally restocked its bestselling Textured Dobby Tiered Mini Dress, which is perfect timing for a visit to Gaskell House.
Its puffed sleeves and floaty skirt are very reminiscent of the Regency style, but the sweetheart neckline and midi length are a bit less modest and more on-trend for this summer.
Love Lucy Boutique also sell a similar item, as their Puff Sleeve Sun Dress boasts the same puff sleeves and mint green palette.
However, the dainty floral print and side split takes it right into the 21st century whilst still drawing inspiration from the Regency style.
If you’re not afraid to show some skin, then Topshop’s Textured Stripe Mini Tea Dress is perfect for the occasion with its puffed sleeves and fitted bodice.
The 19th century influences are more subtle with this one, as the front tie and mini length is trendier – and besides, it’s been far too hot to wear those long floaty skirts this summer anyway!
Elsewhere, there’s the Cow Vintage’s Floral Yellow Maxi Dress.
With a more modest neckline, fitted bodice and length that almost reaches the floor, the Regency inspirations for this one are clear.
However, its bohemian style and wild floral print also gives it a bit of a 60s edge.
Keeping with the maxi dress trend, Miss Selfridge are offering a Pale Yellow Poplin Puff Sleeve Dress, which is perhaps as close to Regency style as you can get from a modern outfit.
From its muted pastel colour to the fitted bodice with a flowing skirt, this outfit will have you feeling right at home in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house.
It isn’t without its modern influences, either, with the frilled hem being a slight nod to current trends without being too overstated.
So, now you’ve got the styles ready – you’re all set for a visit to Elizabeth Gaskell House.
The venue is open every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11am ‘til 4:30pm.
Entry is £5.50 for adults and £4.50 for concessions and pre-booking your visit is essential.