The Jane Austen Center - located at 40 Gay Street in Bath, UK - is a must-see for every Jane Austen fan. Bath represents a period in Jane's life that saw her father retire from the ministry and relocate the family to this bustling city. During her stay in Bath, Jane made several revisions to "Susan" and began a new endeavor known as "The Watsons", which remained unfinished at the time of her death. Ms Austen remained a permanent resident of Bath from 1801 to 1806 and lived a ways up the road from the Centre for a short time.
As a visitor, you'll quickly appreciate the amount of work that has gone into making the Jane Austen Centre what it is today. The Centre is situated within walking distance of the "Circus" and "Queen Square". The town of Bath is a very active place. Fortunately, you can make your way on foot to these sites. Your visit to the Centre itself begins and ends in the gift shop.
For minimal cost, you can tour the building and its permanent exhibits, all of which revolve around the life and times of Jane Austen. Once the tour group is ready, you are directed up the stairs to a parlor lined with seats - an auditorium of sorts - in which a volunteer richly describes the history of the Austen family. This room overlooks 40 Gay Street.
Once the oral presentation is completed, you are directed back downstairs to begin your casual walking tour. The tour has plenty of placards to read and exhibits to study. The Centre's attention to detail is evident here, and your imagination can send you back to Austen's time. Fashions are prominently displayed as are accessories ranging from flintlock pistols and naval uniforms to vintage tea sets and party dresses. The tour winds through several open displays with one even offering several samples of headwear for visitors to try on. Ultimately you'll find yourself back at the gift shop, which offers plenty of mementos to purchase for yourself (and others). The Centre also operates a full online store of the same products in case you cannot make it to the UK.
The Jane Austen Centre at Bath is a most unique experience with an extremely courteous and knowledgeable staff. You'll be surrounded by friends of Jane everywhere and be brought back to a time that grows evermore distant to our world today. Overall, the Jane Austen Centre is a worthy stop and is relatively close to other Austen-related landmarks. The city of Bath itself it something to take in on foot. One can get lost imagining herself walking in the steps as Jane did, making her way about the city.Text ©2008-2013 www.JaneAusten.org • All Rights Reserved • No Reproduction Permitted • Email corrections / Comments to JaneAustenOrg at Gmail dot com.
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