Elizabeth Gaskell (1810 - 1865) Abbey Terrace

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson was often referred to as Mrs Gaskell. She was an English novelist, biographer and short story writer, born in Chelsea, London Her novels offer a detailed portrait of Victorian society, including the very poor, making her work of interest to social historians as well as readers of literature. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848.

Elizabeth Gaskell

The Life of Charlotte Brontë published in 1857, was the first biography of Charlotte. She stayed in Whitby in 1859 and while planning and writing her book, Sylvia's Lovers, she studied the town in great detail. In the novel she refers to Whitby as Monkshaven. The story, published in 1863 is about the Press Gang - the heroine's father is tried and executed at York assizes. Among Gaskell's best known novels are Cranford (1851–53) North and South (1854–55) and Wives and Daughters (1865) all of which were adapted for TV by the BBC.

Mrs Gaskell circa 1860