Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameMargaret Emily “Meta” GASKELL , 8344
Birth1837
Death1913
FatherRev William GASKELL , 679 (1805-1884)
Notes for Margaret Emily “Meta” GASKELL
Margaret Emily (Meta) Gaskell
1837-1913

Meta is untidy, dreamy and absent; but so brim-full of I don’t know what to call it, for it is something deeper, and less showy than talent. Music she is getting so fond of-----Then her drawings are equally thoughtful and good.---and she is quite able to appreciate any book I am reading. Letter 101,

Thus wrote Elizabeth Gaskell about her second daughter at fourteen. Meta was the most intellectual of Elizabeth’s daughters and, when only a few years older, frequently acted as her mother’s secretary. Later she was fiercely protective of her mother’s memory.

Meta went to a school in Liverpool, run on intelligent lines by Harriet Martineau’s sister Rachel Martineau. Later Meta championed women’s education. She helped to raise the money to establish the Manchester High School for Girls at 1 Dover Street and was a governor of the school until her death.

Meta never married. At nineteen she had become engaged to Captain Charles Hill, who was twenty years her senior. Captain Hill was a widower with a six year old child. However, after discovering that her fiancĂ© was not the honourable man she had believed him to be, she broke off the engagement. She was so deeply upset that her mother took her, with Marianne and Florence, to Germany. The holiday achieved its purpose and Meta once more busied herself with “almost too many interests….studying at Greek and German, teaching at the Ragged School etc., etc.” She was a talented artist, met Ruskin, Holman Hunt and Rossetti, and at one time considered becoming professional.

Throughout her life she was involved in trying to improve the living conditions of her fellow Mancunians. During the distress caused by the cotton famine of the early sixties she worked tirelessly to alleviate the sufferings of the poorest victims.

Music was one of Meta’s continuing passions; a talented pianist in her youth, taught by Mr. (later Sir) Charles Halle,. she served on the committee of the Northern College of Music and nurtured the career of young musicians.

Meta helped her mother to secretly buy and equip The Lawn, the house at Alton in Hampshire which was intended to be their final home. Tragically her mother died suddenly there, on 12 November 1865

Meta and her youngest sister, Julia lived on at Plymouth Grove, and looked after their father until his death, but they also built themselves a house in Silverdale, called the Sheiling. They enjoyed walking together and were the first women to cross the Moming Pass in the Alps. After Julia’s death in 1908, she established the Ardwick Nurses’ Home as a memorial to her sister


“---- she made her home for many generations a focus of thought and art and high social endeavour, an all welcoming oasis of sweetness of light” said one obituary.. Perhaps The Daily Chronicle best describes Meta, “Many Englishwomen of our time have earned wider fame, but few have lived more remarkable or more fruitful lives than Miss M.E Gaskell”
Last Modified 17 Jun 2012Created 6 Jan 2019 using Reunion for Macintosh