From looking at my Version of Cranford I always held the belief that Cranford was a much longer book than it actually is. My version also contains selected short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, making the compilation about 3 times the length of the novel in question.
Although it was written a long time ago the novel contains many of the same characteristics as a favourite soap, only it doens't contain the Vulgarity.
The women, and it is almost entirely women, who inhabit Cranford are a unique species. Entirely polite and proper, maintaining their claim to the aristocracy on incomes scarcely sufficient to do so.
Cranford definately deserves it's place as one of the Great Classics.