Georgians Revealed: Exhibition opening at the British Library

October 24, 2013 at 10:35 AM (General News, History)

I don’t wish to be all braggy, but I’m so excited about NOT missing yet another interesting and potentially exciting exhibition in London! I shall be there sometime in early February, which means I shall be able to report to you on the loveliness, I’m hoping, of this new exhibition opening at the British Library in November –

Georgians Revealed

Life, Style and the Making of Modern Britain

I.R. and G. Cruikshank. 'Tom & Jerry at a Coffee Shop near the Olympic' Pierce Egan, Life in London. London, 1823 (British Library. 838.i.2)

I.R. and G. Cruikshank. ‘Tom & Jerry at a Coffee Shop near the Olympic’
Pierce Egan, Life in London. London, 1823 (British Library. 838.i.2)


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10 Signs of Jane Austen Addiction

August 8, 2013 at 10:21 PM (General News, Jane Austen in the News) (, , )

My friend emailed a link to an article by The Huffington Post‘s Deborah Yaffe in which she poses 10 questions that will help you determine whether you are a Jane Austen addict.

As I have done all my chores at work and my shift is nearly over, which leaves me little time for thesising, I thought I would answer the questions to see if I need to address another addiction with my counsellor next week. I don’t know what you think, but I would say that my addiction is on the healthy side. My admiration for the great lady, who will adorn England’s new 10 quid note, much to the dismay of many misogynistic old farts, does not interfere with the daily functioning of my life, which I think is the primary sign that one’s addiction has gone to the dark side.


Anyways… Here be my responses to the 10 signs of Jane Austen Addiction, so I leave you to judge for yourselves. Do feel free to send through your own responses either in the comments field or send us a link to your own blog!


10. Do you give Jane Austen board books as baby presents.

I haven’t done this, but I have given Ashley a little quid copy of Jane’s ‘History of England’ in which she vilifies Elizabeth I, the one issue on which we don’t agree.


9. You skipped lunch to watch Episode 98 of ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries‘.

I haven’t heard of this. I don’t think I want to. Sounds dreadful!

8. You compare people you know to Jane Austen characters.

I have certainly done this on occasion. I’ve met LOTS of Lady Catherine’s. Unfortunately, I have only ever encountered one Captain Wentworth and he was already someone else’s Captain Wentworth.

7. You bought an Empire-waist ball gown, even though it’s not your look.

I don’t waste money on clothes, particularly items that are not my look. I just collect pictures of other women looking lovely in theirs.

6. Someone gave you a Jane Austen Action Figure.

Oh no! I so want one, but I haven’t liked any of the figures. The faces have looked weird on the ones I have seen. And besides, they don’t make a Captain Wentworth one. I would definitely get a Captain Wentworth one!

5. The Republic of Pemberley is your home page.

Not my home page, but I visit regularly and have purchased t-shirts from them, which turned out couldn’t fit over my ‘girls’. American Jane Austen Addicts must have small bosoms. My niece has them now. She too will become a Jane Austen Addict once I’ve finished with her.


4. You have mixed feelings about Cassandra Austen.

I adore her, but I still can’t believe she burned so many of her sister’s letters. However, this, perhaps, makes her a good sister. Although, given that I still love Jane after reading the letters that are extant and not being too appalled by some of her pronouncements on her acquaintances, I can’t see what else she may have written that would destroy my affection for her entirely. Hmm? I think that means I have mixed feelings about Cassandra.

3. You cry when you visit Chawton.

I do get a little welled up. The first time I visited the Big House at Chawton, I did cry. I comforted myself with 2 slices of the best lemon drizzle cake I have ever tasted in my entire life and sitting in the garden concocting a research project that would gain me access to the lovely library there. After I have finished my thesis, of course.

2. You own all the books, but you’re still buying copies.

I am always on the look out for the perfect edition, although I think my 1990′s Folio Society box set will do me just fine. I did have to get Penguin pocket sized editions of Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice (my favourites) that could be popped into the coat pocket of my lovely M&S long black coat. When I replace this coat, which I need to as I have worn it to death, I will be taking one of these pocket editions to make sure that the new coat will also accommodate them.


1. Your DVD of “Pride and Prejudice” skips automatically to the wet-shirt scene.

It doesn’t skip automatically to it, but I know exactly at what point my iTunes downloaded version needs to be forwarded to so I can enjoy it again and again. I am also rather eager to get back to the UK so I can visit the 12-foot wet-shirted Colin statue in Hyde Park! And I know exactly which scene to skip to on my copy of the 1995 version of Persuasion to hear Anne/Captain Wentworth read the most romantic letter ever written, before I turn it off in a sobbing wave of envy to fling myself onto my bed and weep for the romance that I don’t have in my life.


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Smithfield Markets and Prince Henry’s Room under threat

May 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM (General News, History)

I have just received the latest e-newsletter from the Society of Antiquaries of London and am dismayed to read of the losses to our cultural heritage that are being threatened by so-called progress. I am doing a cut and paste job directly from the e-newsletter here and I do hope those of you in the UK can spread the word and get active in your defence of the Smithfield Markets and Prince Henry’s Room.


Smithfield Markets under threat

“As many Salon readers are surely aware, SAVE Britain’s Heritage thought it had achieved an important victory when consent to demolish the General Market, Fish Market and Red House at London’s Smithfield Market was turned down after a planning inquiry in 2008. Communities Secretary Hazel Blears stated at the time that these buildings made a significant contribution to the character and appearance of Farringdon and the surrounding area. Our Fellow Adam Wilkinson, who led the four-year ‘don’t butcher Smithfield’ campaign for SAVE, looked forward to these characterful buildings playing a central role in a Covent Garden-style revival of Smithfield. Imagine SAVE’s distress then when the new plans that emerged for the site in October 2012 proved to be just as potentially destructive of the existing structures as the rejected plans.


The new plans involve what Clem Cecil of SAVE calls a ‘scoop-out job’; that is to say, retaining the three facades that line the edges of the site, but demolishing all the buildings behind (shown in red above) to create what the architects describe as ‘low-rise pavilions’ to accommodate new office space.

Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright says the new scheme (see above) ‘will leave only a flimsy skin of heritage, a picturesque skirt of Victoriana around the base of yet another slab of generic commercial development’.

SAVE has put out an appeal to everyone who cares about these buildings and wants to see them preserved to write ‘a strong note of objection to the Corporation of London, addressed to planning officer Gemma Delves, quoting planning application numbers 13/00150/FULEIA, 13/00155/LBC and 13/00156/CAC’.

The main grounds for objection are that the proposal entails the loss of a major landmark building, including its splendid market halls and roofs; will cause substantial harm to the Smithfield conservation area and surrounding conservation areas, as well as to the adjacent Grade II* listed Meat Market and Grade II listed Poultry Market; that important views will be lost, including those from the Holborn Viaduct; that the buildings have never been market tested (as recommended by the Planning Inspector’s Report following the Public Inquiry in 2008) to estbalish that they are needed; that there is an alternative conservation-led scheme for the site backed up by a viable business plan; that there is no convincing justification for demolition (the National Planning Framework paragraph 132 says that ‘Heritage assets are irreplaceable, any harm or loss should require convincing justification); and that the condition of the buildings, which have been deliberately neglected, is not a justification for demolition (‘Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of or damage to a heritage asset the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any decision’: National Planning Framework paragraph 132).

Our Fellow Marcus Binney, President of SAVE, says that in his view ‘this will be the worst mutilation of Victorian buildings in thirty years’. For further information and images, see SAVE’s website and its Facebook page.

Prince Henry’s Room


Our Fellows Paula Henderson and Claire Gapper write to say that: ‘The small half-timber gateway to Inner Temple at 17 Fleet Street is a remarkable survival of the Great Fire of 1666. The room on the first floor is known as Prince Henry’s Room because of the Prince of Wales feathers and the initials “P H” featured in its exceptionally fine plasterwork ceiling. The building certainly dates to the early years of the seventeenth century. In 1969 the care of Prince Henry’s Room was transferred from the Greater London Council to the Corporation of London, which opened it to the public. An exhibition on Samuel Pepys was installed; Pepys was born not far away and spent many happy hours “drinking and singing” in the room, when it was known as the Fountain Tavern.

‘In December 2012, the Corporation’s Culture Heritage and Libraries Committee declared the room “surplus” and transferred its care to its Property Investment Group, which is actively seeking a tenant. In recent correspondence to us they wrote that the room is no longer available for cultural purposes and that they do not have the financial resources to facilitate visits. Surely whatever rent they could get for this small room could not possibly be as important as the good will that is engendered by making it accessible to those who wish to see an all-too-rare relic of early Stuart life amidst a sea of commercial development.

‘Along with other interested parties (including the Samuel Pepys Club, who paid for the restoration of the room and who have used it for recitals, readings and other events related to seventeenth-century London), we are hoping to convince the Corporation that this room should be made available to interested, scholarly groups at least on an occasional basis. If any Fellows have suggestions or would like to join our campaign, please let us know.’”

The copy in this post is taken directly from the e-newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Salon (issue 298, 13 May 2013) and has been shared by the author of this blog in the interest of saving the cultural heritage of the UK for the enjoyment and pleasure of future generations of Anglophiles like herself.

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Chawton House Library – Lots to Enjoy!

March 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM (General News, Jane Austen Related Travel)

Chawton House Library is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, which means lots of wonderful events for those of you lucky enough to live in the UK or to be planning a trip to the UK this year.

One of the most exciting calendar events is the Wednesday Guided Tour of the library. The tours start in April and go through to October. If you are planning a little visit to Chawton, you may want to visit their website (click on link above) to find out about booking a place. If you do go, please write us about it and after my jealousy has subsided, I will be more than happy to post your report here for the enjoyment of others. You can email me at

For those of us confined to non-UK parts for this year, I post this link to the Chawton House Gallery as a small, unsatisfactory consolation to tide you over until you can get there.


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Not Jane-related post, but a necessary ‘share’

August 23, 2012 at 2:46 AM (General News)

Greetings and Salutations my Fellow Janeites. I just received a lovely parcel from my London friend Mary and as well as my Ponds Moisturising Cream and Hotel Chocolat choccies (yum!), she also included some Radio Times material about the recent BBC2 series ‘Hollow Crown’, which is a new television production featuring Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV and his split personality, and Henry V. I thought I would post the article for you here to read and for those of you who, like me, saw Tom Hiddleston being all wicked and saucy in Thor and The Avengers and developed a crush on him, well, you might like the photos!

Radio Times Hollow Crown Edition June 2012

I would hope that one of the Australian networks obtains the rights to screen these telly adaptations sooner rather than later. Do keep a look out for them and in case I’m still in Thesis Lockdown, could you email me and let me know when to tune in? Thanks!

Oh, and just have to say how much I love the photograph of Ben Wishaw as Richard II. I immediately thought of the Westminster Portrait, currently on loan to the British Museum. So perfectly and beautifully replicated!

Ben Wishaw as Richard II in BBC2’s ‘Hollow Crown’ series

Richard II Westminster Portrait, c. Westminster Abbey

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Next JASA Perth Meeting

March 23, 2012 at 6:33 AM (General News, Perth Chapter Meeting Details)

Greetings and Salutations to my Fellow Perth Janeites and any other Janeite who happens upon this blog. I do hope you are all keeping well.

I just wanted to remind you all that we are scheduled to meet again next month, specifically Saturday 14th April at 2:30pm, the usual place. (For those who would like to come along and don’t know ‘the usual place’, do send me an email at – – and I shall let you know the top secret details regarding ‘the usual place’.)

There is no specific Jane Austen reading for our April meeting as Lauris is presenting a little talk on the subject of ‘Sisters in Jane Austen’s Novels and Life’, which means you could read your favourite Jane Austen novel or some of her letters to Cassandra in order to have some interesting things to add to the conversation. Or you can simply come along, sit, listen, drink tea, eat cake and just enjoy being in the company of your Fellow Janeites.

My apologies for not having posted any Jane Austen related news since, I think, December. You are not the only blog I have been ignoring, or the writing assignment I have been avoiding. My nickname is Queen Procrastinator for a reason.

I have been frantically scanning my Jane Austen’s Regency World collection so I can post interesting articles that you may have missed and will endeavour to pop a few ‘sister’ related ones here before the meeting in case you wanted to do some prep for April 14.

Once again, I invite my Fellow Perth Janeites to send me any little tit-bits, photos, or blessays, (Stephen Fry lingo for blog essays), that they would like to have posted here. This is a blog for all of us, by all of us. Have you just been to Jane Austen Land and wish to brag to the rest of us, then write a little brag and send some tantalising photos and I will post for all to see and envy over.

Until the next time,

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Welcome to the Blog of the Perth Chapter of Jane Austen Society of Australia

October 10, 2011 at 12:14 AM (General News) ()

Greetings to my Fellow Perth Janeites and to anyone else who happens to wander across our blog.

This blog has been inspired by our new Meeting Coordinator Extraordinaire, Helen Atkinson, who would like our humble little group to reach a wider audience and attract new members, or simply reach those of you who, like us, love all things Jane Austen, but are unable to make it to meetings for whatever reason. While I, Lisa Keane Elliott, will be managing the blog and looking after most of the posts, the idea behind the blog is that it is a communal endeavour with all our members contributing items for your reading pleasure. I will also be listing details regarding our meetings so anyone interested in joining us will know the wheres and whens of our gatherings.

I do hope we are able to provide an informative and diverting  place for Perth Chapter members and others to wile away an hour or two revelling in all things Jane Austen. As Miss Austen herself wrote, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery”. Here you will find “delightful diversions” from a “company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation” and passion for all things Jane Austen.

I shall return presently with details of our upcoming meetings, so please visit us again if you are interested in coming along.

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