Saturday 1st September 2018

Venue: Chawton House

**This event is now sold out. Please call us on 01420 541010 to be placed on a waiting list**


Jane Austen & Southampton Spa

A day of talks on Jane Austen’s life, works and world, focusing on the Southampton years.

‘Beware the unmeaning luxuries of Bath and the stinking fish of Southampton.’

-Jane Austen, Love and Freindship (1790)

Jane Austen spent a short time as a child at school in the fashionable seaside town of Southampton, and then 2 years there as an adult before moving to Chawton in 1809. Following success at 2017’s Jane Austen festival in Southampton, this year, the speakers come to Chawton to talk all things Jane, from Gothic horror and putrid throat, to expensive lodgings, celebrities and glitzy balls. This day of talks will give you the opportunity to learn about Jane Austen’s Southampton days, and aspects of local culture that informed her work.


11-11.30 Jane Austen & Southampton Spa (Dr Cheryl Butler)

Spa Southampton was awash not only with bathers but with Admirals, dashing naval captains, French emigrés and Stinking Fish. Discover why Jane’s brother Capt. Francis Austen chose the town as a suitable home for his wife, mother and sisters.

11.35-12.05 Jane Austen’s Landlord: the Marquis of Lansdowne (Jean Watts)

The many early nineteenth-century paintings of Southampton Castle do not depict the medieval fortification but the gothic inspired fantasy residence of Jane Austen’s neighbour and landlord the notorious Marquis of Lansdowne.

12.10-12.40 The Attitudes of Sarah Siddons (Geoff Watts)

Jane Austen’s favourite actress was also a sometime resident of Southampton. Discover the rise to fame of this Georgian icon.

Lunchbreak 12.45-13.30

Feel free to bring a packed lunch, or pick up your advance order from the Old Kitchen

1.30 -2.00 Putrid Throat & Things Medical (Dr Mary South)

Jane Austen’s last unfinished novel Sanditon pokes fun at the pretentions of a small coastal town re-inventing itself as a fashionable spa. Find out more about the ills and cures that were in Southampton during its spa heyday.

2.05-2.35 From Gothic Tales to Gothic Tourism (Professor Emma Clery)

Jane Austen was just one of the many writers and painters to make the trip from Southampton to the romantic and inspiring ruins of the medieval abbey of Netley; visits which contributed to the rise of Gothic Literature and Architecture and novels such as Northanger Abbey.

2.40-3.20 The Industry of the Ball Room (Helen McArdle & Paul Cooper)

Historic costumier Helen McArdle will let you in on the secrets of the best attire for a Regency Ball, whilst Paul Cooper uncovers the story of the dance industry and explores the etiquette at play in scenes of Assembly Balls and the hunt for Mr Darcy.

3.30-4.15 Tea with the Austens: Jane Austen & Scandal (Clio O’Sullivan)

Take the chance to have a dish of tea and listen in on the latest gossip – An Aunt on trial, the Hastings Scandal, bankruptcy and the Powlett Affair! Hear about the Austen family’s involvement with the scandals of the day.

Organiser: Dr Cheryl Butler


Day Ticket (includes afternoon tea 3.30-4.15; lunch purchased separately): £35 public; £30 students/friends

Advance Lunch (for day ticket holders only): £7

Individual Talk (includes entrance to house): £9 each

Final talk (includes entrance to house and tea & cake): £12


To book, call us on 01420 541010 or book online here (subject to Eventbrite booking fee).