Jane Austen Regency Week

By | Category: Travel destinations

Cawton: Jane Austen's house

The announcement by the outgoing governor of the Bank of England that Jane Austen is being considered as the next candidate to appear on the £10 note just happens to coincide with Jane Austen Regency Week.
During this week, places that are connected with her – as well as some that are more suspect – such as her home in Chawton, Bath, Winchester, where she is buried and Alton where she grew up have events and exhibitions to encourage us to visit them. There is even an unconnected summer camp in Connecticut and a programme at the University of North Carolina that coincides with the week.

This year coincides with the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejusdice as well so it isn’t surprising that the novel is being performed at a play at various theatres. There are open air versions in Regent’s Park in London and Cornwall, Enniskillen, Leeds and Bantry in Ireland whilst other versions are in places such as Wellington in New Zealand. There are big celebrations in the Netherlands (mostly in Amsterdam) and Louisville in Kentucky next month, Sydney and Canberra in Australia and even a learned gathering in Mexico City. Such is the world-wide appeal of Jane Austen.

Her small writing table

Chawton may well be the place that is most connected given that her house there, the house where she wrote Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and revised Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. Today the house is a museum and you can see her table – not even a desk – which she must have spent hours at writing not only her books but hundreds of letters, the lesser-known works and poems and attending to daily domestic work. The table is small, almost like a side table yet here, all those thousands of pages were written and characters worked and re-worked. The house isn’t large either and it isn’t jam packed with items but it does show that what life might have been like for middle-class lesser gentry in the early nineteenth century. It makes a change from visiting stately homes and even those of important historic people such as General Wolfe’s Quebec House and Kipling’s Batemans which are larger and grander..

the kitchen in the house

You almost feel that this house is one more akin to life today in terms of its size. And it’s a chocolate box type of house which also adds to its attraction

Given the interest in Austen, this regency week celebration and all the others planned over the next four years linked to the publication of her books and her death in July 1817 means there will be visitor attractions lining up to persuade us to spend a day with them.

For more on Jane Austen’s House Museum, click here.

For more about jane Austen’s Regency Week, click here.

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