Ring in the new year

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country - Edited by An­nun­ci­ata Wal­ton

HE com­ing year is one for book lovers. The 200th an­niver­sary of the death of Jane Austen (be­low) will, in­evitably, set the county of Hamp­shire a-flut­ter (www.janeausten200.co.uk). Jane Austen’s House Mu­seum (her home) in Chaw­ton will host shows and talks, in­clud­ing a Re­gency Week (June 17–25) co-hosted with nearby Al­ton and Hamp­shire Cul­tural Trust’s ‘The Mys­te­ri­ous Miss Austen’ loan ex­hi­bi­tion will tour Winch­ester, Gosport and Bas­ingstoke. Her fi­nal rest­ing place, Winch­ester Cathe­dral, will run tours; in Bas­ingstoke, there will be a sculp­ture trail; and Jane Austen ‘Big Pic­nics’ across Hamp­shire will of­fer the op­por­tu­nity to sup as Re­gency folk did.

The Bri­tish Li­brary, Lon­don NW1, has an ex­hi­bi­tion of Austen’s teenage writ­ings (Jan­uary 10–Fe­bru­ary 19) and, in the same year that the city’s iconic Royal Cres­cent turns 250, the Jane Austen Fes­ti­val in Bath—where Northanger Abbey, also 200 years old, is set—will be big­ger than ever (Septem­ber 8–17, www. janeausten­fes­ti­val­bath.co.uk).

Fur­ther lit­er­ary land­marks in­clude the bi­cen­te­nary of Rob Roy; 130 years since Sher­lock Holmes first ap­peared in print (in Bee­ton’s Christ­mas An­nual) and 125 years since the first pub­li­ca­tion of the sto­ries in book form in The Ad­ven­tures of Sher­lock Holmes; 125 years since the death of Ten­nyson; 80 years of The Hob­bit; and 75 years of The Fa­mous Five.

We will also mark 20 years since the ap­pear­ance of a cer­tain wizard in Harry Pot­ter and the Philoso­pher’s Stone and 10 years since the last book, Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hal­lows, which is still the fastest­selling in his­tory. Among the cel­e­bra­tions will be a Bri­tish Li­brary show on magic (from Oc­to­ber 20) and a film and live-or­ches­tra show at the Royal Al­bert Hall (May 11–14).

Austen shares her bi­cen­te­nary with the open­ing of the Dul­wich Pic­ture Gallery and the in­tro­duc­tion of the

TEl­gin Mar­bles to the Bri­tish Mu­seum. The Blue Plaque scheme was in­au­gu­rated 150 years ago, the same year il­lus­tra­tor Arthur Rack­ham was born.

In July, it’ll be 100 years since the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele started and, in Au­gust, a cen­tury since Wil­fred Owen met his po­etic men­tor, Siegfried Sas­soon, in an Ed­in­burgh hospi­tal—both had shell shock.

The year 1917 also saw the Royal Fam­ily change its name from Sax­e­coburg-gotha to the more war­friendly Wind­sor, drop­ping ‘all Ger­man ti­tles and dig­ni­ties’ overnight —Prince Louis of Bat­ten­berg stayed with his son at a naval base in Scot­land and wrote in the vis­i­tors’ book ‘ar­rived Prince Hyde, de­parted Lord Jekyll’. Ad­di­tion­ally that year, the Cot­tin­g­ley Fairies (top right) were sup­pos­edly cap­tured on cam­era by two chil­dren—it was 60 years be­fore they ad­mit­ted it had been a hoax.

The Ge­or­gian Group was founded 80 years ago, in a year that saw Ge­orge VI crowned, the Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum opened and 999 calls in­tro­duced. Other 1937 hap­pen­ings in­cluded the first is­sue of The Dandy, the births of Jilly Cooper and Bobby Charl­ton and the death of J. M. Barrie.

Ac­tor Vic Oliver was the first Desert Is­land Discs cast­away in 1942, 75 years ago; John Len­non met Paul Mccart­ney at

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