Inquiring Readers, Tony Grant has been contributing articles to Jane Austen Today for several months. Recently, Tony and his family traveled to Bath and the West Country. This is one of many posts he has written about his journey. Tony also has published several posts about his trip on this blog: Going to Bath With Jane Austen and The Servant’s Entrance to Regency Townhouses, for which he supplied the photographs. He has already contributed a post about Milsom Street for Jane Austen Today. This post about his tour through Bath was first published on Jane Austen Today, but the images caused the sidebar to be pushed out of sight, so I placed it here.
Here are some of the places that Janes characters lived in and when you go to Bath you can see them for yourself.
- Anne Elliot and her father lived in Camden Place up the hill at the top of the town.
- Lady Russel lived in Rivers Street just north of The Circus.
- Rich, Mrs Wallis lived in Marlborough Gardens on the hill leading down from the north end of The Royal Crescent.
- Catherine Moreland lived in Pultney Street, which is now called Great Pultney Street, very close to Sydney Street. I wonder if Jane saw somebody in Pultney Street that she thought, “ah, that’s Catherine Moreland.”
- The Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple lived in Laura Place at the end of Great Pultney Street and at the start of Pultney Bridge.
The meeting places and places central to both novels are Milsom Street where everybody shops. Shopping, the bain of my life. My wife and three daughters love shopping. Shopping could be their lives. In Jane’s time tooapparently. It makes me come out in a cold sweat thinking about it. The amount of standing in shops and outside of shops I’ve done.
Ah, that’s better. I needed that rant.
I could almost see Catherine Morland pop in to see if she could find Henry Tilney and of course take a few turns of the room to see and be seen. I knew nobody in The Pump Room just as Catherine knew nobody.
Then we had a look inside Bath Abbey. Jane seems to have not attended services at the abbey. She preferred The Octagon. This was a newly built chapel in Jane’s day. She seems to have preferred churches where the incumbent vicar had new and fresh ideas to deliver in his sermons.
We walked on up Milson Street to George Street where Edgar Buildings are situated. Edgar Buildings are where the Thorpes stayed.
From George Street we went into Gay Street and walked past number 25 where the Austens stayed for a while.
From The Circus we turned down Brock Street and arrived at The Crescent at the top of the hill.
This was the place where the elite lived. These were the largest and most expensive houses. Lords, Dukes and the very wealthy lived up here. It was also a good place to walk to get fresh air.
In the Crescent , about half way round, is a house with plaque that relates a very dramatic story. In 1755 Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was a great playwright in the 18th century and wrote The Rivals and School for Scandal and who was also the owner of the Covent Garden Theatre, absconded with a young lady from the house. Her father chased them all over Europe. When they were found the father made Sheridan marry his daughter. However soon after Richard Brinsley left her in the lurch. The chase was the thing. The excitement of the chase had gone. What a cad and bounder!!!!!
Now, a story about myself. As we walked up Gay Street towards The Circus we obviously stopped outside number 25 to look at it and photograph ourselves outside. An irate and very upset looking lady marched out of the front door next to number 25 with a bowl full of water and threw it all over my legs. I must add this does not normally happen to me. The circumstances were, that some juvenile idiot had drawn rude graffiti over the side of her white van parked outside. She was trying to clean the words off. She was obviously upset and came out to wash the side of her vehicle. Unfortunately for me, she missed. She was SO sorry. Luckily it was a warm day and my trousers dried quickly in the walk up the hill.
One fact before I finish. Did you know that the houses in The Crescent and in The Circus are all different? They all look the same because they are the same on the outside. The builder built the fronts and sold just the fronts. The new owners had to build their own backs to their houses. Hence, if you go round behind the houses in The Crescent they all look different.