PBS Is Hosting a Virtual Tour of Jane Austen’s House
In 1809, Jane Austen moved into a quaint country home in Hampshire, England, with her mother, her sister, and a friend. The estate, owned by her brother Edward, was just the type of place you’d imagine an author might retire to write books—and that’s exactly what Austen did. During her eight years in Hampshire, she penned and edited all six of her full novels (and Sanditon, which she didn’t finish before her death in 1817).
Austen’s fondness for the house is evident in a few lines from a poetic letter she sent to her brother Francis soon after arriving: “Our Chawton home—how much we find / Already in it to our mind / And how convinced that when complete / It will all other houses beat.”
The house was turned into a museum called Jane Austen’s House in 1949, and it’s served as a time capsule of the Pride and Prejudice author’s tenure there ever since; you can see her writing table, some of her jewelry and clothing, handwritten notes, and more. For an in-person visit, you’ll have to wait until its long-anticipated reopening in August—but a live virtual tour is happening this month. The event is sponsored by PBS affiliate WHYY and hosted by museum director Lizzie Dunford, who will talk about Austen’s life in Hampshire as she guides guests through the building. You’ll be allowed to ask questions, too.
The tour is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. EST on Friday, March 26, and costs $14 per person. Half of the profits will go to the museum, which is currently raising money to restore the 70-year-old roof. If you’re interested in attending, you can book a ticket here.