Wednesday 10 April 2013

Researching Austen in Bath

In a few weeks time I will be one of a party of Choc Lit authors attending the RT Booklovers' Convention in Kansas City. It's a huge event and it is going to be pretty hectic - talks, signings and panels. I'm going to be helping out on Sunday afternoon when Juliet Archer leads a session on Jane Austen. As Juliet is Choc Lit's Austen expert, re-imagining the books into modern settings, and I write contemporary romantic suspense, and am in no way an Austen expert, this might have resulted in me simply volunteering to hold her coat and mind her handbag while sitting, fascinated, along with the rest of the audience.

It still might.

But I thought I should make an effort at something I could do. I could visit Bath and look at some of the places that would have inspired Jane and influenced her writing. So I did. And took pictures. I'm still nowhere near being any kind of expert, but I hope I might be able to find one or two interesting remarks to make on the day. If not, I am reasonably adequate at holding coats and minding bags.

Two of Jane Austin's books are set in Bath - Northanger Abbey and Persuasion and there are references to the city in other books. As a spa town it was a popular place to visit in Jane's time - with shops, entertainment and the chance to 'take the waters' - to drink, or sometimes to bathe in, the waters of the thermal spring that were thought to have medicinal properties.

And as it happens the new novella which I am really going to finish very soon opens in Bath. So there is a connection. But it's not Jane Austen.

The Pump Room - where visitors would drink the water, and congregate to see and be seen. Now a posh restaurant with live music. 
The Abbey
Pulteney Bridge - lined with tiny shops . A bit like the Ponte Vechio?
Elegant Georgian houses

Great Pulteney Street 
Bath has some very fancy post boxes
Walcot Street

Trim Bridge - was the blanked window the result of the window tax?
I don't think these were cobbles as walked on by Jane, but you get the idea. I doubt they had yellow lines either.
A side street of smaller dwellings


  1. Lovely pictures, beautiful place. All the best for your new book and for your Kansas trip. Must have been lovely to see the setting for the Austen books, I am a big fan myself.

    1. Thanks Rachel. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  2. I have visited Bath a few times now and enjoyed looking at your pictures. Good luck for your trip to Kansas.

    1. Thanks Sue - at least the sun was shining when I took them!