Chelsea, the Birthplace of Mrs. Gaskell, Past and Present
Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson was born, on 29 September 1810, in Lindsey Row, Chelsea, at the house which is now 93 Cheyne Walk. Chelsea was still a village, not a fashionable neighbourhood, but it was already an area for writers and artists, many of them, like her parents, newly arrived from elsewhere. With their small son, John, the Stevensons had come to the city four years before after a series of moves which had much to do with the character of Elizabeth's brilliant but erratic father, William. Both her parents were Unitarians, and this faith - a way of thinking and an attitude to life as much as a set of beliefs - was to be a central force in their daughter's life.
(Jenny Uglow, Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories [London: Faber and Faber, 1993), pp. 4-5)
She was the eighth, and last, of her parents' children, the only one except the first-born to survive infancy. These successive losses, it can readily be supposed, contributed to the mother's early death. She survived the birth of her last child by only thirteen months, dying on 29 October 1811.
(Winifred Gerin, Elizabeth Gaskell [Oxford: OUP, 1980], p. 6)
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, drawing by W. W. Burgess, 1817
Linsey Row, Chelsea (about 1820). Drawing by W. W. Burgess.
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