Jane Austen is probably the most famous of Bath's past residents. When she first arrived in Bath, it was a very vibrant and fashionable place to live. Indeed in the 18th century, people from all around England and further afield flocked to Bath. In this period its’ extravagant balls and assemblies were renown. Drinking the Pump Room waters and using the Roman Baths while visiting was also very popular. They became the most in vogue place to be seen after a visit from Queen Anne in 1702.
Austen Being In Vogue In Bath, 1702 Onward
In Jane Austen's day it was very important in “civil society” to be in with the “in crowd”. In Bath that meant you had to be seen, in the Pump Room taking a sip of the famous waters during the day. These naturally heated spring waters were purported to cure many ailments and be generally good for the mind, body and soul. They can still be sipped at the fountain in the Pump Room restaurant as it is today.
During the night there were many things to be seen doing to gain even more kudos in society. For instance many would go to the theatre or dancing. This would be a typical day for Jane Austen. Indeed not only society activities but, many of Bath’s famous landmarks and surrounding streets were to become a large influence in her writings.
The Jane Austen Centre Puts Gay Street Bath To Use
Jane used Bath as a setting for many of her novels. As with many of the places used in her books, Gay Street (named after Robert Gay M.P. for Bath 1720 - 1722) has remained almost untouched to this day. This is where the Jane Austen Centre is today.
This museum was created with the guidance of the Jane Austen Society. The society helped to produce many of the exhibits, which explore Jane's life in Bath. The centre gives you clues to how and why she became one of the best writers of her time.
Also you will get to understand why television adaptations of her novels have become so very popular. Every tour of the museum begins with a live introduction with one of the centres guides. This really helps to bring character to her life story.
- Mathews S. 'GAY, Robert (d.1738), of Hatton Gardens, Mdx. and Walcot, Bath.' [Online]. Available at http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org (Accessed 30 July 2015)
- Forsyth, M. (2003) Bath, New Haven & London, Yale University Press.
- The Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay Street Bath BA1 2NT
- Tel 44 (0) 1225 443000 firstname.lastname@example.org