England: Chawton – Looking for Jane Austen (part I)

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Last week we’ve had the most delightful shortbreak in England of which I will write many travelposts in the weeks and even months to come… so brace yourself for lots of England-posts 😀

The first two travelposts will be about Chawton, the little village in Hampshire, where Jane Austen lived her final and most productive years.

I’ve been a big fan of Jane Austen ever since I saw the 1995 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. In the last couple of decades, I saw lots of films and television series covering her books. I bought the books several years ago at the book fair in Antwerp, but I struggled reading them in English so recently I started reading them in Dutch. So far I have read three of them: Emma, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice and reading her novels makes me even a bigger fan!

 

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Beaming from ear to ear to be in Jane Austen’s doorstep 😀

 

Besides reading her books and watching the films and television adaptations, I have also visited Lyme Park and Chatsworth House (Pride & Prejudice’s Pemberley in respectively the 1995 television series and the 2005 film). I wrote a travelpost about these fab estates, which you can read here.

I have also attended a reading given by Karin Quint about travelling in Jane Austen’s time (see this post) and in May I went to a symposium in Utrecht during which I attended (and thoroughly enjoyed!) all 6 lectures. You can read a blogpost about that symposium here.

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Now I’m not exactly a ‘Janeite’, but I’m definitely a big fan of all things Austen! So when I started planning our 5-day trip to Dorset, I included a trip to Chawton. We visited this little village in Hampshire on the last day of our shortbreak as it was on our way back to Folkestone to catch the train back to Calais.

Today, in part I, I will tell you more about the Jane Austen House Museum. Next week I will treat you on a second post about tiny little Chawton, covering Chawton House Estate and taking you on a little stroll around the village.

Jane Austen House Museum

When we arrived in Chawton, we split up. My husband and son weren’t exactly interested in visiting the Jane Austen House Museum, but  I definitely was and my youngest daugter didn’t mind joining me in my visit to the museum.

The Jane Austen House Museum is situated in the house where Jane Austen spent the last and most productive years of her life. She lived in the little cottage with her mother, sister and her good friend Martha Lloyd. It was actually a house from her brother Edward who lived in the nearby Chawton Estate of which you can read more further in this post.

But I’ll take you through the Jane Austen House Museum first, with this quick overview.

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Shop and ticket office

On entering the museum, you first come into the ticket office, which also contains a little shop. Here you can buy plenty of memorabilia, books, souvenirs and even wall paper! I couldn’t resist buying a 1920s copy of ‘Mansfield Park’ for my eldest daughter Charlotte. She is even a bigger Jane Austen fan than I am, but she couldn’t take off from work to join us on our shortbreak. So to offer her a bit of consolation I bought this little gem.

Alcove

In the alcove, next to the ticket office, you can see the ‘Donkey Carriage’, which was purchased by Edward for his mother. The carriage was also frequently used by his sisters Jane and Cassandra.

Bakehouse

Here you can see the original oven and copper.

 

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On the left the bakehouse.

 

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Historic kitchen

Left of the entrance of the house you can find the historic kitchen with an inglenook fireplace and a small brick oven.

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Drawing room

This room would have been used for entertaining visitors, sewing, playing music and reading. In this room you can see the bookcase of Jane Austen’s father, an 18th century mahogany bureau bookcase.

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Reading room

In the reading room, visitors can relax with a book.

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Dining parlour

In the dining parlour, the women of Chawton cottage would take their breakfast. Jane’s writing table can be found in this room. After breakfast, Jane took time to write. She hid her manuscripts for visitors as not many people knew she was a writer.

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Jane’s writing table.

 

Jane Austen’s bedroom

Jane shared a bedroom with her sister Cassandra. the tent bed which can be found in this room is a replica.

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Family room

This was the bedroom of Jane’s mother. It is the largest room on the first floor, which would have been reserved for the eldest member of the family.

Dressing room

This room was used as a dressing room or as a bedroom when young family members visited.

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Admiral’s room

This room is dedicated to Janes seafaring brothers Francis and Charles with memorabilia of the Navy.

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The garden

The garden of the Jane Austen House Museum is delightful and contains lots of beautiful borders.

In Jane’s time, the garden would have been used  as a simple country cottage garden. Jane’s mother maintained the vegetable patch.

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Are you a Jane Austen fan? Would you like to visit this lovely museum? Tell me in the comments!

Love, Kathleen

 

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The cat Marmite living a fairly busy life in the Jane Austen House Museum…
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Edward Austen

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “England: Chawton – Looking for Jane Austen (part I)

    Kirsten Wick (@TheLIFBIssue) said:
    July 31, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Definitely need to go there, thanks so much for sharing. Covering Jane Austen at university was one of my favourite semesters and Pride & Prejudice is my fave book to this day, just love the play with language and the depiction of society. Have you ever watched the series ‘Lost in Austen’? Much love, Kirsten x

    http://www.thelifbissue.com

    Liked by 1 person

      kaybe610 responded:
      July 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      I did and I loved it 🙂 The BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice is my absolute favourite!!! it is so lovely out there Kirsten, you should check it out for your blog some time!! Have a lovely Monday 🙂 Kathleen x

      Like

    Kerry LifeandLoves said:
    July 30, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I LOVE this review! My husband and I made a pact the start of the year to explore more of England. (I have a mini series on my blog if you fancy a nose) We have travelled far and wide, but seen very little of the UK. I will add this to my wish list of places to visit. Looks right up my street

    Liked by 1 person

      kaybe610 responded:
      July 30, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Stay tuned then as I have plenty more England posts lined up the coming weeks!! We were in England for only 5 days this time but we saw so much!! We love visiting England… have a fab evening and thanks for the lovely comment 👌 Kathleen

      Liked by 1 person

    The Gypsy Gurl 🎒👣 said:
    July 30, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Wow, I am a fan of Jane Austen and I can imagine her here while working through all her amazing masterpieces. Thanks for sharing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      kaybe610 responded:
      July 30, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      If you get the chance you should definitely visit Chawton!! Thanks for the comment and have a fab Sunday evening! Love, Kathleen

      Liked by 1 person

    missflyingsolo said:
    July 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Think i may need to visit it! Looking forward to part 2, p.s. persuasion is a good read.

    Liked by 1 person

      kaybe610 responded:
      July 30, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      I have just bought ‘northanger abbey’ which will be my 4th Austen novel. If you get the chance to visit Chawton you definitely should… such a lovely village with loads of history! Have a lovely Sunday evening! Kathleen x

      Like

    The Emma Edit said:
    July 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Love it Kathleen! Your posts remind me of how little I’ve seen of my own country 🙈. I love to visit places like this 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      kaybe610 responded:
      July 30, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Stay tuned then, because there are lots of England-posts to follow the coming months 🙂 We were in England for only 5 days this time, but we did heaps!!! Enjoy your Sunday Emma! Love, Kathleen x

      Liked by 1 person

    Ann Ages Gracefully said:
    July 27, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for taking me on the tour 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      kaybe610 responded:
      July 28, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      You’re very welcome! Have a lovely evening 👌

      Like

    thatlittlegirl said:
    July 27, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Jane’s house is so charming… and the garden is so lovely! How lucky of you to visit such a historical place where Jane created her masterpiece.

    Liked by 1 person

      kaybe610 responded:
      July 27, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      Oh thank you for your lovely comment!! I was lucky indeed… I loved every single minute of that trip, can you imagine!! Next week part II 😉 Love, Kathleen

      Liked by 1 person

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