There is a Blue Plaque at this location recognising Elizabeth Gaskell.
The plaque reads:
“Hollingford House, formerly Church House – home of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Uncle, Dr. Peter Holland and his daughters, Lucy and Mary, thought to be the models for Miss Matty and Miss Jenkyns characters in Mrs Gaskell’s ‘Cranford’.”
Elizabeth was born in London, but after the death of her mother was sent to live with an aunt in Knutsford.
In 1832 she married William Gaskell who was minister of Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester.
They had five children but the only boy, William, died in infancy. Elizabeth wrote her first novel, Mary Barton, soon after this.
The novel – with its vivid portrayal of Manchester slums – was a great success.
In 1850 the family moved to 84, Plymouth Grove in Longsight, Manchester where Elizabeth wrote her other novels, as well as short stories and novellas.
Elizabeth’s novel Cranford was based on Knutsford and used familiar locations.