Taking place every second Sunday of the month (over the summer and into autumn, 11 August, 8 September and 13 October) in the Servants Hall of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House – one for the literary visitor’s bucket list, in any case – ‘possibly the best secondhand book sale in Manchester’ serves up cheap reads, and not just for copies of North & South. There are always both new and secondhand books for sale in the tearoom at the Grade II* listed neoclassical villa on Plymouth Grove, now an award-winning writer’s house museum in the UNESCO City of Literature open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 11am to 4.30pm, but this monthly fair is a chance to come and browse a wider selection of tomes, including a variety of fiction, art, gardening, photography, classics, biographies, history, OS maps and much more.
Be sure to check out the new exhibition, “My Dear Mr Ruskin…” Friendship, Inspiration and Scandal, John Ruskin and the Gaskell Family, which opened on 18 July and runs for a year. It’s part of a programme of activities celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of writer, artist, social reformer, philanthropist, ecologist and ‘visionary thinker’ John Ruskin, taking place around the UK and also abroad. Often sharing the same ideals, putting them at odds with their contemporaries, John Ruskin and Elizabeth Gaskell were controversial writers during the 19th century. Our very own Festival of Ruskin in Manchester is popping up on various dates at venues around town, including Elizabeth Gaskell’s House – check out the website for upcoming events.
Heck, if you still have time, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake while you’re here, and be sure to enjoy the well-established gardens (a peaceful haven set back off the busy road), then maybe nip to the not-too-far Whitworth Art Gallery, Pankhurst Centre and Victoria Baths for more inspiring interiors and stories.