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  • Lynne Shelby

Jane Austen Lived Here

“They arrived in Bath. Catherine was all eager delight: her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel…” Jane Austen – Northangar Abbey.

This week I visited Bath, for it is a truth universally acknowledged that anyone who reads Jane Austen is in want of a trip to the city which is the main setting for Northangar Abbey and Persuasion.


he Royal Crescent

“We walked along the Crescent for half an hour.” (Northangar Abbey).

25 Gay Street where Jane and her mother took lodgings in 1805

“…lodgings in Gay Street, perfectly to Sir Water’s satisfaction.” (Persuasion)

Almost all the streets (Milsom, Cheap, Bond) and buildings (the Assembly and Pump Rooms) mentioned in the novels are still in existence, as are most of the houses where Jane Austen lived or lodged during her frequent visits to the city. Given how she brings the fashionable spa that was Bath in the 17th and 18th century to life in her writing, I was surprised to learn that she didn't much care for the place herself - her attitude seems to have been much more like that of Anne Elliot than Catherine Morland.

13 Queens Square – Jane stayed here in 1799

1 Royal Crescent

For me, the highlight of the visit was 1 Royal Crescent. This restored Georgian townhouse, with its authentic furnishings and fittings, really brings the Regency era to life – both its elegance and its less salubrious aspects (chamberpots – that’s all I’m saying!)

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