In recent weeks, visitors to Jane Austen's House Museum will have noticed the presence of two gazebos, set up above the doorways on the west side of the house. These gazebos were put in place as a precautionary measure after a tile became loose on the roof above. On Monday 1 July, we were closed to the public all day to allow builders to urgently shore up the tile and to check the roof for any other problems. This work was supported by the generous donations made to our Jane's Fund appeal.
Claire Aitken, Facilities Officer, took photographs whilst the works were being completed and gives her account below:
"It all started on Sunday night. We had arranged a bat survey to check how many bats and which species are currently using Jane Austen's House as their home. I arrived at 8.30pm to meet the bat ecologist Lynsey. It was a hot and humid night. Marmite the cat was lazily asleep in front of Cassandra's Cup and I was being harassed by midges and mosquitoes. I guess these bugs are an appetising delicacy for a bat! I met with Lynsey, we talked for a while and then I left her sitting in the garden with earphones in well into dusk.
Monday morning came. The day was a combination of the roof tiles being repaired and another visit from Lynsey to oversee the works and inspect the attic in the daytime. A cherry picker was on site to allow for the repair of the roof tiles and I was asked by the builder whether I would like a trip, oooh yes please! And oh, what a view! Luckily I had brought my camera, and got some cracking shots looking down on the buildings at Jane Austen's House Museum, a viewpoint not many people have the privilege to see. The operator took me up higher to gain an even better vantage point, and so I could see the surrounding village as well as just the Museum. Good job I’m not scared of heights!
It is certainly an experience I won’t forget! Thanks to Jamie, the builder from Dunne & Co, and to Lynsey, the bat ecologist."
The Blush Noisette climbing rose surrounding the entrance to Jane Austen's House, a favourite photo spot for our visitors, can once again be seen in all its glory uninhibited by the precautionary gazebos!
If you would like to contribute to future vital building repairs and protect Jane Austen's House for future generations, please donate to Jane's Fund here.