Fund launched to re­pair Austen’s home

The Field - - NEWS -

Work to com­plete es­sen­tial re­pairs to Jane Austen’s home in Chaw­ton, Hamp­shire, has had to be re­struc­tured fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of roost­ing ev­i­dence of sero­tine, long-eared and pip­istrelle bats in the rafters at the Grade I-listed house where Austen lived for the last eight years of her life.

The Jane Austen mu­seum has launched Jane’s Fund to raise £250,000 to­wards the first phase of the ex­te­rior and in­te­rior build­ing re­pairs. As funds come in re­pairs will be car­ried out to re­place the lathe and plas­ter ceil­ing in the din­ing room, re­pair and paint the win­dows and re­store the 1940s picket fence. Ex­ter­nal doors need paint­ing, too, and brick­work re­stored and tim­bers re­placed above the lean-to. A struc­tural en­gi­neer’s sur­vey is also needed of the front wall of the build­ing.

“We have com­mis­sioned a de­tailed bat sur­vey and con­tinue to work with Nat­u­ral England to en­sure that all our re­pairs are timed ac­cord­ing to the bats’ sea­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties and that they are con­ducted with ap­pro­pri­ate checks and con­trols,” said cu­ra­tor Mary Guy­att.

Ev­ery year 40,000 vis­i­tors come to the house with an ad­di­tional 10,000 ex­pected this year to mark the 200th an­niver­sary of Austen’s death. On 5 Au­gust, vis­i­tors are be­ing asked to con­trib­ute a stitch to the new com­mu­nity story quilt. Funded by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund, it hopes to ex­plore Austen’s in­flu­ence around the world. It will go on show in the mu­seum next year. For de­tails, call 01420 83262 or go to jane-austens-house-mu­seum.org.uk

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