Elizabeth Gaskell House … Bury Pride Rainbow Train … International Day of Older Persons

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Mystery trip

On Thursday, 23 September, twelve members of Out In The City, went on a “mystery trip”.

We met in the centre of Manchester but the end of our visit was kept secret. We took a bus to the university area and our first stop was at “The Turing Tap”, a pub dedicated to Alan Turing. They serve a wide range of food and drink. The pub is just a few minutes walk from the Whitworth Art Gallery and the Manchester Museum, and is just round the corner from the Pankhurst Centre (the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and the birthplace of the suffragette movement). The group did not know where we were going. However, once I had given the clue that we were heading “North and South” to “Cranford”, Walter guessed that our destination was Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. Those are two of her books.

84 Plymouth Grove, now known as Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, is a writer’s house museum in Manchester. The Grade II* listed neoclassical villa was the residence of William and Elizabeth Gaskell from 1850 till their deaths in 1884 and 1865 respectively.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing desk

The house itself was granted listed building status in 1952, partly due to its association with the Gaskells. This granted it protection from demolition, however, 84 Plymouth Grove slowly descended into a state of disrepair due to neglect.

The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust commenced a restoration project in 2009, aiming to see the building returned to its state as the Gaskells left it. By 2011, the Trust had finished the exterior, which included structural repairs and removing the pink paint that had coated the house for several years. On completion of the £2.5 million restoration, the building was reopened to the public on 5 October 2014.

Elizabeth Gaskell (picture top left) and Charlotte Brontë (picture top right)

Charlotte Brontë, who visited the house three times between 1851 and 1854, described it as “a large, cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke”. On one occasion, the meek Brontë even hid behind the curtains in Gaskells’ drawing room as she was too shy to meet the other guests.

Visitors to the house during Elizabeth Gaskell’s lifetime included Charles Dickens, who, on one occasion in 1852, made an impromptu visit to the house, along with his wife at 10.00am, much to the dismay of Elizabeth, who mentioned it to be “far too early”, John Ruskin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, American writer Charles Eliot Norton and conductor Charles Hallé.

The house has twenty rooms and there is now a café in the basement (previously the accommodation for the domestic staff including a cook, several maids, a handyman for outdoor work, as well as a washerwoman and a seamstress). In 1850 the rent was considered as very expensive at £150 per annum. William Gaskell was a member of Portico Library and also the Reverend at Cross Street Chapel.

More photos can be seen here

Bury Pride Rainbow Train

For the second time the East Lancashire Railway became the “Bury Pride Rainbow Train” to celebrate Pride in Bury.

Members of Out In The City joined people from Out on Sunday, Out In The Valley, the Bury LGBTQI+ Forum and others to board the steam train from Bury to Rawtenstall.

The event started with goody bags being distributed at the station and entertainment with a samba band.

Wolf kept us entertained when we arrived at Rawtenstall performing “Do The Locomotion” amongst other songs.

More photos can be seen here.

International Day of Older Persons

In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated 1 October as The International Day of Older Persons.

Did you know?

  • The composition of the world population has changed dramatically in recent decades. Between 1950 and 2010, life expectancy worldwide rose from 46 to 68 years.
  • Over the next three decades, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050 and 80% of them will be living in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Prevalence figures based on a survey of 83,034 people in 57 countries found one in every two people held moderately or highly ageist attitudes (i.e. stereotypes and prejudice).

Activists set to tell their stories at living library event

A living library event is being held on Friday, 1 October – to mark the launch of a new campaign that breaks stereotypes on what an activist looks like and showcase how generations are working together to tackle climate change.

The ‘This Is What An Activist Looks Like’ campaign launch coincides with the International Day of Older Persons and the living library event will give people the opportunity to talk to activists from all walks of life to be inspired to make a change in their communities.

All are welcome to the free drop-in event, which is being held at Manchester Central Library between 2.00pm – 3.30pm. The afternoon will also premiere a new campaign video that features eight activists – young and old – uniting in the fight against climate change.

A living library event allows visitors to browse the ‘bookcases’ and choose the ‘story’ they want to listen to, pull up a pew, and have a conversation with their chosen activist, who will be all set to share their personal stories about their activism to inspire all generations to act.

Dorretta Maynard

Among the ‘books’ will be community activist Dorretta Maynard from Trafford, who has spent most of her life volunteering in her community.

She said: “I’m a woman who stands up for her rights, who is calm, approachable and always has open arms. I want to help the next generation rise.”

Chris Barnes from Salford has turned a patch of wasteland in Salford into a blooming community garden, not only to act as a space for people to get together but also to grow their own produce.

The campaign has been commissioned by Greater Manchester Older People’s Network (GMOPN) and supported by the Talking About My Generation team.

We hope to see you there!

The Derek Jarman Pocket Park will also launch on 1 October at Manchester Art Gallery, ahead of the Derek Jarman Protest! exhibition opening on 1 December.

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