Saturday, July 13, 2019

Jane Austen's House Museum

Upon hearing that Mrs Maytrees and I had decided to visit Jane Austen's museum a few days ago, my oldest sister cautioned that the museum which she had visited a few years back,  was she felt, very disappointing not least because it was only possible to see a single room downstairs with the whole upstairs of the house being closed.

Thankfully that caution proved out dated as the museum has raised funds through its charitable status which have been expended on restoring the house as well as acquiring early editions of Jane Austen's works together with furniture likely to have been used by the family when they lived there.

Although Jane Austen's family lived elsewhere  from time to time, including I believe at 13 Queen Street Bath now occupied by a firm of solicitors some of whom I knew well, her house at Winchester Road Chawton, Alton Hants is I understand, her only home currently open to the public to visit.

The house is quite small but well kept now and includes the small donkey carriage that Jane and her sisters would have ridden out in from time to time:

Jane Austen was born in 1775 and moved to the above house which was part of  her brother Edward's estate, in 1809. 

According to the museum brochure, when Jane's older sister Cassandra, died in 1845 the house was divided into three cottages. Jane died  apparently from Addison's disease, sadly much earlier in 1817  at a time when her novel Sandition was unfinished.  Several other authors have tried to complete the novel in Jane Austen's own style, though I have not yet read any.

Since becoming a museum in 1949 the house has been restored to the single dwelling that Jane herself would have known.

After visiting the House we walked the mile or so to Chawton House which was her brother Edward's house where an excellent light lunch was available in a garden.

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