Cash to improve Jane Austen's former home

The home of Hampshire's most famous author has been awarded £500,000 of Lottery money. Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton will now be able to undertake further development at the historic property.

The project marks the second stage of work at the museum, where Lottery money was first used to fund the re-interpretation of Jane Austen's house in 2005. A museum spokesman said: "This time we are aiming to fulfil, and hopefully exceed, 21st century visitor expectation. "The money will be spent moving all sales out of the house to create an even more homely feel, and, to enable the long awaited reopening of the kitchen. "A new learning centre will perform the function of the old Granary meeting room and will have the added bonus of some interactive exhibits while demand for an audio/visual facility will also be realised.'' The Heritage Lottery Fund award comes as the museum prepares to mark next year's bicentenary of Jane Austen's arrival in Chawton in 1809.

Jane Austen had spent the previous two years living in Southampton at a "commodious old-fashioned" house in Castle Square, which was rented from the Marquess of Lansdowne. It was at Chawton that Austen revised her three early novels, including Pride and Prejudice, and wrote completely her three other works, including Emma. Michelle Davies, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the south-east, said: "This award will help the museum meet the demands of visitors and inspire new generations with glimpses into her life and times.''
By Keith Hamilton
11:33am Wednesday 25th June 2008

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