Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was born in London in 1810. Her mother, Eliza, the niece of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, died when she was a child. Much of her childhood was spent in Knutsford, Cheshire, a town she would later immortalize as Cranford. In 1832 she married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, and they settled in Manchester. The industrial surroundings offered her inspiration for her writings and it was here that she wrote both Cranford (1853) and North and South (1855), as well as the first biography of Charlotte Bronte. Her last novel, Wives and Daughters, said by many to be her most mature work, remained unfinished at the time of her death in 1865.