Good afternoon from gloriously sunny Bath today! Thank you for your interest in Jane’s home here. I am the current lucky guardian of this Georgian house where the Austens lived 1801-1805- I’m told. I was not here you will understand! Denoted by the plaque hung on the front elevation of the building.
It’s a real tourist focus in the city. Our office is based here so we are lucky to walk the stairs that the Austens used daily. It’s grade 1 listed- so we may not even paint the front door without a dossier of council listed building permissions!
The Austens paid the princely sum of £150 per annum rent. That’s about half the sum we now pay our window cleaner! The property has been sensitively refurbished under the control of the local authority into four luxury self contained apartments, one on each level. (With lower ground floors-scullery level-separately converted for a couple from Lithuania).
The property is particulary available for ‘Janeites’, travellers or pilgrims that wish to enjoy the architecture and history of this building, combined with modern day comforts that we all look for- luxury furnishings, nice cups of tea and beautiful bedrooms. The property can be rented for 1-4 guests per apartment, or as a whole house sleeping up to 14 guests for larger visitor groups. We also provide organic scented candles and toiletries- both locally hand made- to rest our weary guests and provide a unique experience.
We have recently launched a ‘Jane Austen spa package’ – to compliment a stay in her home! Full details on our domain- www.bathboutiquestays.co.uk
How did you become guardian of the house?
We acquired the 1st floor originally and then noticed that the rest of the house was becoming available, so we worked in conjunction with the free holder to sensitively decorate the rest of the property for holiday lets available to Jane Austen fans.
Did you wake up one day and decide I want to live/work where Jane Austen did?
I was sat in Sydney Place pleasure gardens, where Jane sat, looking across at 4, Sydney Place and I knew I had to preserve the history and story of Jane’s former home for her fans and the next generation.
What are some of the unique things about being in a building with so much history attached to it?
The Georgian period is in itself displayed beautifully in Bath with some stunning architecture. Jane’s former house is a perfect example of a Bath town house and every time I turn I notice another feature of the building.
What do you like best about running the house?
Keeping the history and story of the house alive, it is incredible to be in the care of a house that housed one of the most forward thinking and clever woman we have seen and seeing the house being used to share the Jane experience with everyone that stays here.
What are some of the most memorable/unique experiences you have had with the house?
While renovating the house earlier this year, the builders discovered a large safe that had been plastered over. We had no key to open the safe and so had to get a professional to come in and drill open the safe, there was a big suspense as to what might be in the safe, after all the fuss over opening it, it finally was open and what was in there… A peanut. That’s all, we had a key made so we can use the safe but that would be the most memorable experience we have had so far. Another of our most memorable experiences is finding a silver teapot amongst the rubble when clearing the attic floor of the property. We cleaned it up and it know has pride of place in one of our apartments here in Jane’s former home.
Are you a Jane Austen fan (loaded question I know!) What is your favorite work of hers?
We are all Austen fan’s here at 4, Sydney place. I would probably say Northanger Abbey would be as Jane wrote this book while she was living in Bath. It is very special to know such a renowned piece of classic literature was written here in Bath and that we get to care and look after the home where Jane wrote.
What do you think Jane Austen might say about the house and what you are doing with it?
Jane was a modern woman of her time, she wrote some incredible literature and we think she would love that fans of her work can now come and sit in her former home and read her works, knowing this is where she lived. Jane’s home is not only a place where Jane lived but it’s a brilliant example of the Georgian and famous Bath style and we think Jane would appreciate us sharing this beautiful home with everyone.
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