The Life of a Female Writer on the Big Screen

In the Great Gallery at Chawton House Library stands a display cabinet, home to a hidden treasure. On loan to us for safekeeping is the collection of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists’ trophies, many of which would have … Continue reading

darren blog

The Barrett Papers

  In November 2014, Simon Downing from Selborne (four miles from Chawton) officially handed over a collection of family archives. Dating from 1821 through to the 1880s, this archive includes journals, cookery books and watercolour sketches written and compiled by … Continue reading

Giorgia photo

A Career in Book Conservation

Giorgia Genco is training to become a book conservator. She spent two weeks at Chawton House Library in May 2014 assisting the conservator, Caroline Bendix, with a survey of our rare books. Giorgia returns in February 2015 to help Caroline … Continue reading


Cause for Celebration at Chawton House Library!

  Happy Birthday Jane Austen! Today 239 years ago, the Reverend and Mrs. Austen welcomed their seventh child and second daughter into the world. We found a quote from the treasured author’s Juvenilia describing the birthday celebrations of a Mr. … Continue reading

Georgian mistletoe

‘O you merry, merry Souls, Christmas is a coming’!

Heavily coloured by Victorian concepts, our modern understanding of Christmas bears strong resemblance to the celebrations captured in Dickens’ novels, most obviously in his parable novella, A Christmas Carol. The Dickensian Christmas is a season for merriment and family: with … Continue reading

KFCB Belly Band

Georgian Ginger Cake: A Treacle-based Delight

Ginger Cake As featured in The Knight Family Cook Book and transcribed by     Dr Annie Gray   Gingerbread is a longstanding festive favourite. Early versions often just involved breadcrumbs, honey and spice, but by the Georgian period it … Continue reading

Prof David Owen Norris of Southampton University

Lifting the lid on a piano steeped in history

At Chawton House Library sits a rather special piano, on loan from the University of Southampton, our concert series partner. We caught up with the university’s Head of Keyboard Studies, Professor David Owen Norris, to find out more about the ‘angel’ of musical instruments. Continue reading

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Celebrating Christmas at Chawton House Library the Georgian way

Dr Annie Gray, celebrated food historian and a regular on The Great British Bake Off, will be giving talks at Chawton House Library about the “knockout” dinners enjoyed by the Georgians at Christmas. Here Dr Annie Gray explains the allure … Continue reading

mary woll billboard

Science and The Rights of Women

The turbulent life of Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Mary Shelley, ended when she was only thirty-eight. The anger and zeal that fuelled her creative talents were destructive forces in her personal life. Her writing challenged the accepted conventions of the … Continue reading

Ann Radcliffe The Mysteries of Udolpho (2)

Terror, Tyranny and Mysterious Manuscripts

  A Study Day on Ann Radcliffe at Chawton House Library with Professor Emma Clery and Dr Angela Wright Saturday 8th November, 2 pm to 5 pm     “Fate sits on these dark battlements, and frowns; And as the … Continue reading