1810 September 29: Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson is born to William and Elizabeth Stevenson, nee Holland, in Chelsea, London.
1811 October 29: Elizabeth Cleghorn’s mother dies.
November: Mrs. Hannah Lumb, Elizabeth Cleghorn’s aunt, takes her to Knutsford, Cheshire, to rear her.
1814 Elizabeth’s father is married a second time, to Catherine Thomson.
1821 Elizabeth attends a boarding-school near Warwick run by the Misses Byerley.
1822 Her brother John Stevenson joins the Merchant Navy.
1824 Elizabeth’s school moves to Stratford-on-Avon, where she remains for two years, including the holidays. She studies, apart from general subject, French, Italian, and Latin.
1827 Elizabeth goes to live with her father at 3 Beaufort Row, Chelsea.
1828 John Stevenson disappears while on a voyage to India.
1829 March 22: Elizabeth’s father dies.
September: Elizabeth goes to Knutsford for a short visit to her aunt, Mrs. Lumb, then to Newcastle-on-Tyne to the home of the Rev. William Turner, where she stays two years.
1831 Elizabeth spends most of the year at Edinburgh in company with Mr. Turner’s daughter Ann. She meets the Reverend William Gaskell (1805-1884), minister of Cross Street Chapel, Manchester.
1832 August 30: Elizabeth is married to the Rev. William Gaskell
at St. John’s Parish Church, Knutsford; they leave for a wedding trip to Festiniog, Wales.
September 29: The Gaskells arrive from their wedding trip at their home, 14 Dover Street, Manchester.
1833 Mrs. Gaskell’s first child, a daughter, is stillborn.
1834 September 12: A second daughter, Marianne, is born.
1837 February 5: A third daughter, Margaret Emily (known as Meta),
January: A poem composed by Mrs. Gaskell and her husband, entitled “ Sketches Among the Poor”, No. 1, appears in Blackwood’s Magazine.
1840 William Howitt includes in his Visits to Remarkable Places a description of Clopton Hall written by Mrs. Gaskell.
1841 Mr. and Mrs. Gaskell visit Heidelberg, touring the Rhine country.
1842 October 7: A fourth daughter, Florence Elizabeth, is born. The Gaskells move to 121 Upper Rumford Street, Manchester.
1845 August 10: The Gaskells’ son William, born on October 23, 1844, dies of scarlet fever at Festiniog, Wales. Elizabeth collapses after his death. In order to distract her from her grief, her husband encourages her to write a novel (Mary Barton).
1846 September 3: A fifth daughter, Julia Bradford, is born.
1847 “Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras” and “The Sexton’s Hero” are published in Howitt’s Journal.
1848 “Christmas Storms and Sunshine” is published in
Mary Barton is published in two volumes by Chapman & Hall, London.
1849 Mrs. Gaskell dines with Charles Dickens and visits Thomas
Carlyle at Chelsea.
June: She spends her vacation at the Lake District, and meets William Wordsworth.
“The Last Generation in England” is published in the American Sartain’s Union Magazine in July; it anticipates her novel Cranford.
“Hand and Heart” is published in The Sunday School Penny Magazine from July to November.
The Gaskells move to 84, Plymouth Grove, Manchester.
1850 January 31: Dickens writes, asking her to contribute to Household Words.
March and April: “Lizzie Leigh” appears in the first two issues of Household Words.
August 19: Mrs. Gaskell meets Charlotte Brontë, who stays with the Kay-Shuttleworth family at Briery Close, near Lake Windermere.
November 16-23: “The Well of Pen-Morfa” appears in Household Words.
December 28: “The Heart of John Middleton” appears in Household Words.
December: The Moorland Cottage is published by Chapman & Hall.
1851 February-April: “Mr. Harrison’s Confessions” appears in The Ladies’ Companion. June 7: “Disappearances” is published in Household Words. June 27: Charlotte Brontë visits Mrs. Gaskell in Manchester. July: Elizabeth Gaskell visits London and the Great Exhibition. December 13: Cranford begins appearing in Household Words. Mrs. Gaskell’s chalk drawing portrait is made by George Richmond. It is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
1852 January-April: “Bessy’s Troubles at Home” appears in The Sunday School Penny Magazine. April 12: Mrs. Gaskell provides Charlotte Brontë with an outline of Ruth. June 19: “The Shah’s English Gardener” appears in Household Words. September: Dickens visits Manchester as manager of the farce Used Up and is entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Gaskell. December: “The Old Nurse’s Story” is published in Household Words.
1853 January: Ruth is published in three volumes by Chapman & Hall. January 22: “Cumberland Sheep Shearers” appears in Household Words. April 22: Charlotte Brontë visits Mrs. Gaskell in Manchester. June: Cranford is published by Chapman & Hall. Late summer: Mr. and Mrs. Gaskell and their two elder daughters travel in Normandy. September: Mrs. Gaskell visits Charlotte Brontë at Haworth. October 22: “Bran”, a poem, appears in Household Words. November 19-26: “Morton Hall” appears in Household Words. December 10: “Traits and Stories of the Huguenots” appear in Household Words. December 17-24: “My French Master” appears in Household Words. The Christmas number of Household Words contains “The Squire’s Story” and “The Scholar’s Story”, the latter a poem. Mrs. Gaskell begins writing North and South in the winter of 1853-4.
1854 February 25: “Modern Greek Songs” appears in Household Words. April: Mr. Gaskell becomes senior minister of Cross Street Chapel, Manchester. May 20: “Company Manners” appears in Household Words. May: Charlotte Brontë makes her last visit to Mrs. Gaskell’s. Mrs. Gaskell and Marianne visit France in the autumn. On their return they visit Florence Nightingale in London. September 2- January 27, 1855: North and South appears in Household Words.
1855 June 16: Charlotte Brontë dies and her father, the Reverend
Patrick Brontë, requests her to write a life of his daughter; she accepts and begins to gather material.
North and South is published in two volumes by Chapman & Hall. August 25: “An Accursed Race” appears in Household Words. October 6-20: “ Half a Lifetime Ago” appears in Household Words. Lizzie Leigh and Other Stories is published by Chapman & Hall.
1856 December 13-27: “The Poor Clare” appears in Household Words. December 27: “A Christmas Carol”, a poem, appears in Household Words.
1857 Early in the year, Smith, Elder & Company publishes The Life of Charlotte Brontë. February: Mrs. Gaskell, her two elder daughters, and Catherine Winkworth leave for a long visit to Paris and Rome.
1858 January: “The Doom of the Griffiths” appears in Harper’s Magazine. June 19-September 25: “My Lady Ludlow” appears in Household Words. Late autumn: Mrs. Gaskell and two daughters, Margaret Emily and Florence Elizabeth, spend thirteen weeks at Heidelberg and elsewhere in Germany. November 27: “Right at Last” appears in Household Words. The Christmas number of Household Words contains “The Manchester Marriage”.
1859 Early summer: Mrs. Gaskell and her daughters spend part of the summer at Whitby, where she gathers material for “Sylvia’s Lovers”. Round the Sofa and Other Tales is published by Sampson Low & Company. October 8-22: “Lois the Witch” appears in All the Year Round. The Christmas number of All the Year Round contains “The Crooked Branch”.
1860 February: “Curious if True” appears in The Cornhill Magazine. Right at Last and Other Tales is published by Sampson Low & Company. May: Mrs. Gaskell visits Paris and Cannes.
1861 January 5-19: “The Grey Woman” appears in All the Year Round.
1862 May: “Six Weeks at Heppenheim” appears in The Cornhill Magazine. February: Mrs. Gaskell, accompanied by her daughter Margaret Emily and a friend, Isabel Thompson, leave for Paris, Normandy and Brittany. Involved in the relief effort for the destitute people hit by the Lancashire Cotton Famine, Mrs. Gaskell overstrains herself and has to recuperate at Eastbourne.
1863 January 24-March 21: “A Dark Night’s Work”
appears in All the Year Round.
March 21: “An Italian Institution” appears in All
the Year Round.
November 28: “The Cage at Cranford” appears in All
the Year Round.
November- February, 1864: “Cousin Phillis” appears in The Cornhill Magazine.
The Christmas number of All the Year Round contains
Sylvia’s Lovers is published in three volumes by Smith, Elder & Company.
1864 April-June: “French Life” appears in Fraser’s Magazine.
1865 Spring: Mrs. Gaskell, accompanied by members of her family, travels in France, staying part of the time with Madame Mohl in Paris and part at Dieppe. Summer: Mrs. Gaskell buys a home, The Lawn, near Holybourne, in Hampshire. The Grey Woman and Other Tales is published by Smith, Elder & Company. November 12: Mrs. Gaskell dies suddenly at The Lawn, while at tea with some members of her family.
1866 Wives and Daughters is published unfinished posthumously in two volumes by Smith, Elder & Company.
1884 June 11: The Rev. William Gaskell dies aged 78; he is buried beside his wife at Brook Street Unitarian Chapel in Knutsford.
De Witt Sanders, Gerald. Elizabeth Gaskell. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929.
Matus, Jill L., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Gaskell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Last modified 2 April 2010