Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Ladybird umbrellas, Jane Austen and the Chawton House Library

Chawton House Library in Hampshire, England
Chawton House Library in Hampshire, England
At 22 months or so we took her to Birdworld but as it was drizzling at first, she seemed to be more interested in the umbrella than the cute penguins. So I got her this ladybird umbrella (later a friend gave her a similar one so now she has two ladybird umbrellas) and she absolutely loved it.

I couldn’t remember now whether the photo above was her first day out with that umbrella. It was a rainy visit to the Chawton House Library, not an uncommon day in England. We thought that with a toddler enjoying her new umbrella it was not really ideal to view the library. Still, we went inside the house to buy tickets to access the gardens.

Jane Austen's brother Edward was adopted by the Knights who owned the house and Edward eventually took over management of the estate. Parts of the house were derelict towards the end of the 20th century. Thankfully, the decline was halted in 1993 with the sale of a 125 year lease to a new charity, Chawton House Library, founded by an American entrepreneur and philanthropist. The Library is now The Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing, 1600-1830.

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