We are delighted to announce award-winning comedian, author, screenwriter, director and television presenter David Baddiel as our Ambassador for the Museum’s 70th anniversary year in 2019.
Baddiel is a long-standing admirer of Jane Austen’s style and wit and has previously stated that Austen ‘single-handedly created the modern English novel.’ Of his appointment as Jane Austen’s House Museum’s 2019 Ambassador, he says: ‘Jane Austen, often depicted as just a sparky spinster, is in fact one of the greatest geniuses in English literature, the mother of the modern novel. The reason her work is still read and filmed today is that she created a type of storytelling that was at once eternal and centuries ahead of its time. I’m proud - as a much lesser storyteller - to be the ambassador for Jane Austen’s House Museum in 2019. Also it’ll really upset Giles Coren.’
2019 will see Jane Austen’s House Museum celebrate the 70th anniversary of the House opening to the public. The Museum’s philanthropic founder, Mr T Edward Carpenter, purchased Jane Austen’s House following an appeal from the Jane Austen Society in The Times, and opened the House as a Museum on 23rd July 1949, dedicating the adored site to the life and works of Jane Austen. The Museum is the only house where Jane Austen lived and wrote that is open to the public.
During this anniversary the Museum will be celebrating the many thousands of visitors who have journeyed to Jane’s home, exploring cherished memories and stories of the House, and admiring the work and commitment of those who have helped to support the most treasured Austen site in the world. On 23rd July, the Museum’s official 1949 opening date, the first 70 visitors will be able to purchase admission at the original 1949 ticket price of 1/6d (equivalent to £2.34 today!)
A programme of displays and events dedicated to the life of the Museum will run throughout the year. As well as the original invitation to the 1949 opening, original visitor books and many other treasures from the archives, visitors will have the chance to view the recently discovered last lines of a Jane Austen letter and acquisitions which they and others have helped the Museum to purchase in recent years. Event highlights include a new series of Director’s Talk and Tours, an Austen music workshop, writing workshops, guided walks and a special birthday celebration event on Saturday 27th July.
Jane Austen’s House Museum Director, Mary Guyatt, says: ‘What a proud journey it has been for Jane Austen’s House. Established as one man’s gift to the public in 1949, our charity has since welcomed an estimated one million visitors inside the village cottage where Jane Austen wrote her world-famous and much-adored novels. Having observed David Baddiel’s championing of Jane Austen with delight, we are thrilled that he has agreed to come on board as our Ambassador for such a special year. We are really looking forward to celebrating our seventieth birthday with our visitors.’
For details of our 2019 events, please visit our What's On page. We look forward to welcoming you during our 70th anniversary year!