Welcome back to Chawton House Library Conversations. First launched on Sunday 8 March 2015 in celebration of International Women’s Day, our monthly podcast is a round up of news, events and highlights, helping you stay connected with Chawton House Library wherever you are.
This month we hear from our new Garden Manager Andrew Bentley. Reflecting on his interest in our Capability Brown inspired English landscape garden here at Chawton House Library, Andrew discusses his plans for our new herb garden in the Walled Garden. Inspired by Elizabeth Blackwell’s book A Curious Herbal (1737-39), a guide to different plants and their uses in medicine, we hear of how the planting is progressing. We move on to hear about the role of the Wilderness and its connection to the house through Bluestocking Elizabeth Montagu’s contemplative bench, a new feature in the centre of the Wilderness. Looking ahead to our ‘Emma at 200’ exhibition, Andrew explains the role of strawberries in Austen’s novel and how that will be represented in the Walled Garden. Andrew also encourages listeners to become a garden volunteer and be part of a gardening community.
We catch up with Librarian Darren Bevin about the Novels Online project and the volunteers who type up the works, who are primarily based in America. Our volunteer, Maureen Saturley, tells us about her role of proof checking the accuracy and language at this stage in the project and her new found interest in early women’s writing.
We then go overseas and hear from volunteer Bobbie Gay in Arizona, USA, Corresponding Secretary looking after membership for the North American Friends of Chawton House Library. We find out how she became involved with Chawton House Library and how she keeps up by re-reading all of Austen’s novels each year!