First Floor

‘Your room will be over the drawing room, ours over the dining room – the girls over their schoolroom, Nursery over Hearn’s bedroom.’

– Elizabeth Gaskell, 1850

Anticipating a house full of people for Christmas in 1851, Elizabeth admitted that ‘the sleeping room is rather the puzzle in this plan’. At times, the girls and the servants had to share their beds to make space for visitors: somehow everyone was fitted in, but having people to stay could be exhausting.

During the 1857 Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition, Elizabeth felt that she was running a hotel, rather than a home. She wrote to Charles Eliot Norton: ‘Our house has been fuller than full, day & night... and this last fortnight it will be fuller than ever, as every one will want to see the Exhibition before it closes’.