Romance and Revival: the Gothic at Speke Hall

Chaise longue, prior to restoration

Join us this spring as we reopen the doors of Speke Hall and reveal the tragic life of Ada Watt and the legacy left by her short time living here.

Our new exhibition 'Romance and Revival: The Gothic at Speke Hall' will explore the restoration of the hall in the late 1850s after a period of neglect. Much admired for its ancient and picturesque qualities, the hall was turned into a vibrant Victorian family home by Richard and Ada Watt. Discover more about their fairytale romance which ended unexpectedly and tragically, and the impact it had on their one surviving child, Adelaide Watt.

Created in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, the exhibition will have a special focus on the Gothic, and how this movement in art and literature influenced Ada and Richard's restoration of Speke Hall. Discover fascinating facts about the movement, curl up in our Victorian-inspired book nook in the Great Hall and enjoy a classic tale or simply wander round and soak up the atmosphere.

To bring Ada's passion for restoration back to life, we will also be revealing the restoration of a chaise longue which was part of an opulent set of bedroom furniture during her time at the hall. You can find out more and visit the exhibition every day that the Hall is open (Wed-Sun from 10 February).

You can also join us on selected Thursday evenings from February to July for in-depth, fascinating lectures from the MMU team on a variety of topics including ghost stories by Victorian women authors, creating Gothic interiors, Gothic romances and the footsteps of Harriet Becher Stowe. Find out more and book your tickets here.