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Episode 63: Bringing Jane Austen's Bath to life with Ellis Naylor @historian_ellis



Join me and Ellis as we assemble a Jane Austen guide to Bath. Together, we'll explore Austen's complex bond with this iconic city, from its social allure to its challenges.

We'll dive into Austen's portrayal of Bath in "Northanger Abbey" and "Persuasion," examining how she depicted its social intricacies and landscapes. As we stroll through Bath's streets and assembly rooms, I'll reveal the places Austen frequented, from Lansdowne Crescent to Westgate Buildings.

Ellis shares insights into the history of Bath and as a local, she offers personal reflections on Bath's historical tapestry and Austen's connection to it. Whether it's the lively pump rooms or the romance of Lover's Lane, each anecdote adds depth to our understanding of Bath as a character in Austen's world.

Join us to uncover the historical charm and literary whispers of Bath—a city that both captivated and challenged Jane Austen.


Bath Blog post from Ellis:

Georgette Heyer's novels 

Jane Austen at Home: A Biography by Lucy Worsley

UPROAR!: Satire, Scandal and Printmakers in Georgian London by Alice Loxton 


Where can you find Ellis?

 

Izzy: 0:19

hi, Janeites and welcome back to the what the Austin podcast. We have an exciting episode lined up today. Elle is back on the podcast and we're going to be discussing Bath and Austin's connection to the city. So Bath very much celebrates its Jane Austen ties today. We have the Jane Austen Festival there, the Jane Austen Centre and a lot of other things linking to Regency England, which actually is quite surprising because Austin only actually lived in Bath between 1801 and 1806, so only a few years.

Izzy: 0:52

However, I would say that the city itself very much embodies Regency England with the classical backdrop and it was very popular at the time for fashionable society. So we thought it'd be a really good one to chat about, discuss Regencyency england and bath, austin's time there and also how um she captures the essence of the city in a lot of her novels because I think it comes up. We obviously see that in northanger abbey and persuasion. So yeah, we're basically doing an austin deep dive on bath today and we hope you enjoy it. So l your thoughts on today's topic thank you, thanks for having me.

Ellis: 1:24

This is such a privilege to be able to come on and speak about Jane Austen and Bath. Someone who now resides in the city came here several years ago, not thinking I'd still be here several years later. But yeah, I think it's just a great topic to explore because, as we sort of were discussing earlier earlier, how important place is to, I think, jane Austen fans. I think Jane Austen as a historical figure she is not quite as tangible as some other people. I mean, there's always been debate about what she looks like and who she was, and I think, because she's got such a strong following, I think people are always trying to unpick and find out who she was really as a person. I think that's such a trend nowadays, especially in history as well, and I think place is so important. So a lot of Austin fans I know flock to places like Bath and Winchester Hampshire the Jane Austen Festival, and so I think it's a really interesting topic to be able to explore how place relates to Jane Austen as well.

Izzy: 2:24

Yes, I love this, and for me personally, it's not one of the Austen locations I've explored that much, yet I live closer to Austen's house and I grew up near both Pemberleys, actually, and I'm back there now. So, yeah, out of all the locations you can explore, this is definitely the one that I've not had a chance to explore lots yet, but hopefully that's going to change this year. So I'm excited to do this episode as well, because you're definitely going to tell me a lot more about Bath that I didn't know. So, yeah, julie, I'm really honoured to have you with me, elle, as a resident of Bath, you have so much knowledge on it.

Ellis: 3:03

Thank you, I know, it's strange, like I think, when you move somewhere, though, you're never quite a local, are you, until you've been there for several years. But no, I'll take it and, yeah, really excited to dive into this, I think. Um, I think, before we get into it as well, I'd just like to sort of make a note about the sort of context of of these books and sort of Jane herself and I think a lot of people feel like that Jane perhaps did not actually enjoy her time, um, in Bath when she was here, because of just how I think she had to leave quite abruptly and from from what, I think, sources say, I think when she heard that she was moving here, apparently she fainted when she heard about it.

Ellis: 3:42

So it was quite a big deal for her and I think we just got to have that in the back of our minds, maybe, and sort of maybe think did she enjoy it here? Were there elements that maybe she did enjoy or didn't, or why didn't she? But I think it's very telling when you look at the two books that do have Bath really prominently in them. So you've got Northanger Abbey, which is essentially a satire, so that you know, know, I mean she's kind of then making fun of a place I don't know, but she's making fun of, you know, gothic novels and things like that, and she set it in Bath which, um, she's doing a satire means that maybe she's not taking this place very seriously. And then you've got Persuasion, which I think people have always felt is quite a reflective or terminal, potentially, potentially sort of sad kind of book, I think, compared to her other ones. So again, maybe the atmosphere that she's creating in that potentially reflects her opinions and thoughts on the place which is Bath.

Izzy: 4:37

Yeah, I think there is that notion that she didn't enjoy her time there. But I think, for anybody, when you're kind of uprooted, when you've been in your family home for a certain amount of time and then you're uprooted and you've got to move somewhere new, that's quite a distance from where you grew up. I think that's hard for anyone. So I feel like sometimes, um, we have to bear that in mind. Also is that you know, a change of location. You're coming from a rural, rural area into a city. That's a massive change anyway. Um, and obviously for austin, even though she's such a fond observer of the social um, she always comes across a little bit like she also likes her own space. So I can imagine moving somewhere which is heavy on the socializing and, um, you know, party and all that kind of thing is probably, you know, wasn't the most exciting news for sure yeah, I completely agree, and having to move, especially from the countryside to the city as well, I think that was probably quite a big deal for her too.

Ellis: 5:32

And I think, again, just going off the books themselves, the fact that, for example, yeah, northanger Abbey is a bit of a satire in what it is.

Ellis: 5:39

It's almost like the idea of Bath is not quite what it seems and you have things throughout the book which reflect that, such as the facade of Northanger Abbey itself. We think it's going to be this creepy mansion but it's not actually quite live up to the expectations of what Catherine expects and I think that reflects Bath as a whole. The architecture reflects, I think, this idea of propriety which will come through in society and bath at this time. And you've got people, like in persuasion, like you know, anne's father and sister, who are very vain characters but they kind of thrive in this environment, compared to anne who prefers to be at home at kenny inch in the countryside and and living somewhere like that. So I think, yeah, it's just to to think about the fact that Bath is somewhere which is all about that polite society, and I think in the 18th and 19th century, appearances were important to be able to thrive and survive in somewhere such as Bath.

Izzy: 6:38

Yes, I love this, and I think it's also worth bearing in mind that all of Jane Austen's novels are commentary on society in so many ways, and I think, even if it was that she didn't necessarily enjoy all of her time in Bath we can't know that for sure.

Izzy: 6:53

Obviously, we can go off bits of her letters. However, I would say this was probably one of the most formative times for her collecting data for her writing, because she's got so much opportunity to observe society, and in such a small space really. I know that bath's a city, but in the grand scheme of things, compared to london, everything's a little bit more close-knit in bath and everybody would have been going to the same assembly rooms. You know walking around, promenading around the same parks, you know what I mean, and so this is I feel like this is a bit of a goldfish bowl in which she was able to kind of collect information on human psyche. You know what I mean, and so this is I feel like this is a bit of a goldfish bowl in which she was able to kind of collect information on human psyche. You know how people interact with each other yeah, completely agree.

Ellis: 7:32

Completely agree um with on that, then, shall we? Should we start with the arrival of Catherine Morland in Bath, in Northanger Abbey?

Izzy: 7:40

yes, let's do it, let's do it right.

Ellis: 7:43

So I mean I've got written down first of all, just a quote which basically summarizes when they, when they arrive in Bath. So Catherine has come to Bath with, um, their family friends, aren't they, I think, sort of from the Allen we give it? Yeah, you're given the opportunity to come to Bath and sort of live out her, her heroine's kind of story. So she's got all these romantic notions of what it's going to be like and, um, what's gonna, what's gonna happen when she's there. So it starts off when they get to bath. So austin writes they arrived at bath. Catherine was all eager, delight, her eyes were here, there and everywhere as they approached. It's fine and striking and runs. And I think they go on to say that they settled in comfortable lodgings in polkley street, which which would have been not far actually from where Jane Austen lived herself when she first came to Bath. So she lived at 4 Sydney Place, which was just at the top of Pulteney Street to the left. It's a very nice area as well in Bath.

Izzy: 8:35

Something that's really interesting about Catherine and her experience of Bath is she already has high expectations and she's already kind of set out to enjoy her time there, which I love and I think um something that we see a bit later on is how katherine holds on to this excitement and love of bath compared to some people who are a little bit more um time there in bath, um, who actually have, like, they're like oh no, bath's nothing.

Izzy: 8:59

Now, like you know, we come here all the time, kind of thing. So yeah, I kind of love that. This kind of shows a bit of Catherine's naivety anyway, but also that, um, as readers, we're intrigued about this city. You know we've got, we've got good ideas about it from the offset definitely.

Ellis: 9:15

She comes at it with very like fresh eyes, which I think Jane herself might have come at as well. I think when she did first arrive she probably did like look at it and think this is great. You know, having come from the countryside and not having anything nearby like that before, she.

Izzy: 9:29

She was there prior to like when, before she moved there, apparently all of her experiences that she had, like temporary experiences and baths she loved it was just like, obviously like moving there full time was not in her plan. Maybe there's this notion of like if something is temporary, how it can be much more more enjoyable than when it becomes your permanent, like a permanent state of being, and it like becomes mundane yeah, I feel like it's what I think about.

Ellis: 9:53

You know, people talk about visiting London nowadays. Like I love going to London to visit, but then I think if I ever had to live there, like I'm definitely not one of those people who could live there. So that's how I sort of relate to that one. But it's quite funny then, because then they obviously go off on their first evening. They're really excited to go up to the upper assembly rooms to start socializing and dancing, and it quickly kind of goes a bit downhill from there. So it's sort of saying that the season was full, the room was crowded and the two ladies squeezed in as well as they could.

Ellis: 10:22

So and then Catherine began to feel something of disappointment. She was tired of being pressed against people and it just sort of this whole scene just makes you feel so uncomfortable the whole time they're there because it's like they obviously mean like pushed around, they've got no one to talk to, she's got no one to dance with, um, and then they're just like sat awkwardly at the end of someone else's tea table, I think at one point, and it's just so. The whole thing is, you know, when you're reading it and you can just feel awkward and you get that second-hand embarrassment from it, almost because it is just so awkward and unenjoyable and not potentially what we would think. Oh, if we went to a lovely assembly room ball, it'd be amazing and beautiful and, you know, be able to like dance with people. But it wasn't the case.

Izzy: 11:04

I think again, this shows the difference as well, because even though the Allens obviously they have money and status and they've got you know they they visit Bath on a regular basis.

Izzy: 11:12

I guess when you go to somewhere like Bath there's very much like a pecking order because it's where fashionable society all kind of migrate.

Izzy: 11:20

So I think this is what's really interesting about it is obviously for Catherine, the Allens would have been big fish back home, whereas I feel like when she goes to Bath she thinks that might like she probably assumes that'll be the same again, but the Allens don't actually know many people in Bath at all and, like you said, they put this at the end of somebody's table. I think it really shows like this is not an easy world to be thrown into. You know, I actually think it'd be my worst nightmare. It's an easy world to be thrown into. You know, I actually think it'd be my worst nightmare. It's like me sometimes when you go to a networking event and like, like you've really got to put the effort in, like if you don't know anyone and other people already know each other, like that fear of being in a room full of people and you know, not even knowing where to start. I mean, you're just lucky if you start talking to somebody who's like just really nice and wants to help out.

Ellis: 12:03

But yeah, I mean, how hard is it to be in a room full of people and not know anyone and not know what to do yeah, it's almost like you know, because they say, like when it's the marriage market, it's like you almost have to work hard at it, like women probably. It's almost like a yeah, really like full-time job. It's like you know, when you go to networking event and it is like you've got to work hard to be able to make those connections and make that impression. You can't just go in and it's not always maybe about having fun, but it's about maybe working hard to get those connections and make ground with, with people. So, um, yeah, we see it as like a really nice, lovely, romantic vision of dancing around with people, but actually it took a lot of time, effort and energy and as women as well.

Izzy: 12:41

How much harder is that? Because you can't just go up to people and start introducing yourself. You need to be introduced. So I think this is a good thing to get into. I know you have some some thoughts on like this, on like regency england in particular, because this is quite a difficult, um social thing to navigate if you're a woman yeah, definitely.

Ellis: 12:58

So I mean we soon find out. So when she, um, she does eventually meet the hero of the story, which is henry tilney, she's actually introduced to him. It's quite. I always find it quite disappointing because it's like the least romantic way I think of like a couple meeting out of all of austin's book. But they're basically just introduced by the master of ceremonies, um, who was basically like they had the leading role in making bath like fashionable and also kind of coming up with the rules and, um, also making sure that people did not feel awkward and they would make make the introduction. So it was their duty to sort of host people who came to bath and so, yes, as to not create awkwardness. But also, I think what the men could have had is they can also go to the master of ceremonies and ask him to introduce them to people. So it might be that Tilney even went up to him and be like, oh, can you introduce me to this girl? Or he might have just seen them as two people who look like, you know, they could have been a good match and he introduced them.

Ellis: 13:57

And I think the most famous master of ceremonies that Bath had was Bonash and he was responsible for basically creating a lot of the rules that Bath society had. So I think there are things like certain things that you could only wear, like after a certain time or a certain place, like all these little things which tried to make Bath. You know what it? What it was essentially.

Ellis: 14:17

Um, I think at the time that Jane was writing, the master of ceremonies that she refers to was someone called James King, so he would have been the one, so he would have actually been a real life character who would have introduced Henry and Catherine together. You can also go and see Monash's house in Bath. It's like I think it's an Italian restaurant now, but it's also available to go and see if you want to go have a look where he lives in Bath. But it's just super interesting that that is such a big thing. If you're going to, yeah, stay in bath and you want to meet new people, you have to do it by the master of ceremonies set out, and that was to make sure everyone behaved correctly as well. So you had to.

Izzy: 14:56

Yes, it meant that everyone was behaving nicely and doing the right thing, like I would actually like somebody like that at all events, like that would be amazing. I actually would love that job myself, to be fair Not that I would have got it in Regency England, like being a woman and everything but genuinely I quite like that job. I think that's my dream job actually.

Ellis: 15:19

Hosting people on a large scale.

Izzy: 15:20

Yeah, imagine all the people, the different people you'd meet. I actually think that's my life calling is to be a master of ceremony it's so much more easier at the networking events.

Ellis: 15:32

Every time you go out somewhere, there's just somebody who does that or yeah, I don't know. I just yeah, you just like yeah, yeah, I mean he's essentially hosting bath. I mean that's quite a responsibility, isn't it? He comes to my kingdom that is Bath essentially, so, yeah, the master's home and he's introduced to her a very gentleman, like young man as a partner. His name was Tilney, so now they can dance essentially, whereas before she would never have been able to go up to him or hear her and be like can I dance?

Izzy: 16:05

Because they'd never met before, but they've been introduced now. Does that mean like characters like sir william lucas had a similar role, then like it, but on a smaller scale, in pride and prejudice, you know?

Ellis: 16:14

yeah, I was just. I. I was thinking of sir william lucas earlier, when you were thinking about sort of like big fish at home and small fish in other places, and so william lucas was someone who came to mind because he's very much someone who feels like he's, like you know, a bit of a big fish where he lives and he loves hosting and introducing people and he probably did take on elements of that role. Yes, and then obviously, when he goes to places like London, I think he's very much a smaller fish, you have, you know, I think Caroline Bingley made a comment about that, didn't she? About the fact that you have, you know, I think caroline bingley made a comment about that, didn't she? About the fact that, um, she didn't need him to introduce her, um, saint james italus. So I think it's maybe, yeah, a similar kind of thing. I think he very much liked that role yeah, oh my gosh, I love that.

Izzy: 16:55

Yeah, um, so also, I know there were two different assembly rooms in baton. There's the upper and the lower, uh, but what is the difference between these two?

Ellis: 17:09

yeah, so there were. Yeah, there were, there were two, which meant obviously we have more parties, I guess. Um, so the upper rooms are they are still like standing today which you can go and visit. So they did um house the fashion museum up until recently. It's now owned by the national trust and I think they are actually doing some work on it currently to get them reopened in some kind of capacity to the public. So definitely keep an eye out for that. Um, I think you can actually book to do tours at the moment whilst they're doing the work, but they're really, really beautiful. Um, in fact, I was there last week for an event um the persephone book festival. They hosted some of their talks and the tea room there and it is absolutely magical. So if you do get the chance, please go um.

Ellis: 17:49

But yeah, the upper rooms were I think they were built around I've got written down 1769 um by. They were designed by John Wood the Younger, who also designed the Royal Crescent, and so people will know the Royal Crescent because that was quite an important place in Bath as well, where people will go and be seen to promenade and walk around. Um, but I mean, the upper rooms were is where, basically, balls took place, gambling took place, you had concerts, tea rooms, card rooms, very much very sociable place. And yeah, you had the lower assembly rooms as well, but they're no longer. They were at the bottom of Bath but they're no longer available.

Ellis: 18:27

So they were destroyed in a fire in 1820. They were rebuilt but they're demolished again in 1933. So it's really sad that we don't have that today. They were not happening. So, yeah, the upper assembly rooms is where it was at. So, yeah, essentially they were where all the balls were held and where you could go and socialize with. They were just, yeah, really amazing places where so much was happening, but very busy places, and I think that's the impression we get from from katherine it's.

Izzy: 18:53

Actually, although they were very beautiful and wonderful, I think, yeah, it's, we get a very realistic view of it I feel like the only two locations that you really hear about have been the place where people go to socialise is London and Bath, and so if you think about the whole of England or the whole of the UK even, maybe in some sense people are flocking to only two cities, which seems like a lot of space, but in the grand scheme of things not really, especially Bath, because that feels so much smaller than London anyway. So there's a lot of people trying to fit into such a small city.

Ellis: 19:27

Yeah, um, yeah, and the thing is with Bath as well. It did. It attracts a lot of women and a lot of single women and a lot of widows because of its sort of respectability. It had a bit of a reputation with that, so you can imagine just like the volume of women in particular who are there and, um, maybe like, even like lack of partners as well. So there was, there's that to consider too.

Ellis: 19:48

But it's, yeah, really interesting that, like you say it, so many people would have been visiting there. It would have been so busy and um, I think what we've got to remember as well is that Jane Austin is writing these books like they're, they're modern books. For her, that makes sense. She's writing about the time she's living in, um, and so they're obviously, I think, going to be slightly more realistic than what we sometimes project onto them, which can be quite romantic, and you sort of look at Bridgerton and things like that. We're looking back at it, you know, retrospectively, aren't we? Whereas actually she will probably write a little bit more how it is, because she's writing as if we would write a book today talking about, yeah, um, going to clubs and stuff like that.

Izzy: 20:27

I guess it's a similar sort of thing. I love that, you know, and I think that's something that I've always really respected about certain authors. Like something about dickens and like elizabeth gaskell, like later offers, like that they write very realistic representations of like the time as well. Like that it is pretty like dirty and gloomy and dark and there are some like rough situations going on and although austin's books don't quite have that such a you know, a heavy darkness to them, like I think she does in her own way, sprinkle in the truth of the time and I think this notion that like, like you said, all these single women packed in this place, everyone being pushed and shoved, and like you're trying to find a partner and all of this lot, I mean realistically, that's not that that does not sound like the best of times, really does it? It really gives like cattle market vibes yeah, yeah, it is.

Ellis: 21:19

Yeah, it's interesting when you start actually thinking about it and reading between the lines, especially of someone you know Jane Austen actually lived there and would have experienced it, and it's interesting to try and pick out what she's including and maybe why she's she's including it. Um, I think it does. Yeah, hint at James opinions coming through, and I think that's also in the conversations as well. Um, like, I think, when Henry and Catherine are talking about it's quite funny.

Ellis: 21:43

Henry's very sarcastic when he talks to Catherine, I think about Bath and he's like oh, what have you been doing and have you been enjoying Bath? And asks all like the usual questions you have to ask when someone comes, which again I think is quite telling. But I think there's also little giveaways as well when Catherine sort of describes how now she's living in Bath it's great because she's got all these shops on her doorstep and there's so much to see and do and before it was such a chore to go into town Her nearest town was Salisbury and how tired she would be coming back when shopping in comparison to going out in bath. And maybe that echoes slightly of maybe one of jane austen's opinions, because obviously she would have lived um quite far away from from her town and having them to go shopping and come back probably would have been a chore for her. So she's putting maybe some little hints in there that she is, yeah, her own experience as well.

Izzy: 22:30

It suggests that she actually was quite fond of like fashion and stuff as well. So I think maybe that's another um, another clue that maybe it wasn't all. It wasn't all bad like. I guess it probably is nice to have all that on on your doorstep and, um, like, like we've been saying, like this is a fashionable city, so like you're gonna have access to more of the latest fashions and trends and things and I think that's great as well.

Izzy: 22:54

There's so much more exposure in the cities, like in London and Bath, than you would have got in like your rural areas. I think we see that as well with the gardeners when they come back in Pride and Prejudice, um, and Mrs Gardner is always telling Mrs Bennett about the latest fashion trends in in London, um, so it's like that's where the that's where the trends are set you know that's in like.

Ellis: 23:15

The people in Bath and London were like the regency influencers of the time yeah, yeah, and it's almost like if you're in that crowd, a part of it, you're part of the the crew, sort of thing. I found it quite interesting as well that there's other examples where Jane Austen court sort of almost shares like inside jokes about living in Bath, because she makes a joke I think it was chapter seven I've written down about the traffic on Cheap Street and how, um, she just starts the whole chapter going on about that. I'm thinking that's probably something you would relate to if you've lived in Bath or been to Bath, and probably a little bit of a joke for some people. And so it's quite nice that she's got those little things dotted around as well. And also I spoke earlier about the Royal Crescent and that being quite a nice place for people to walk and promenade.

Ellis: 24:04

And she makes another joke about the fact that when Isabella and Catherine go to the pump room the crowds were insupportable, there's not a genteel face to be seen and instead they go and breathe the fresh air of better company at the royal crescent. And I think that's just quite a again, just quite funny little jokes that she's putting in there about, um, yeah, just about how how she views, use Bath and the kind of people maybe coming to Bath. It's a little bit like oh, we're making a joke, it's the tourists coming, in a way. I feel it's like that, and so we need to go away from the pump room where everyone else is and go breathe some fresh air.

Izzy: 24:39

You know, the better crowds up at the royal crescent, where you know not yeah, the great unwashed, yeah, oh, coming to it's almost yeah, and I also think, um, austin, she's so when I think she's really self-aware, but also I think she's just so aware of other people that I think she she just finds so much fun in just like mocking, like the snobbery, just like I don't know, like societal expectations at the time um so I kind of love that. I agree, I think her dropping these like little things is just funny.

Ellis: 25:11

It's, it's, yeah yeah, yeah, it's always part of the culture, isn't it? This idea that you have to be kind of a little bit judgy of people and who they are and where they're from and you know, like, yeah, not a genteel face to be seen. It's just so funny and so insulting and comes across as like, oh, you know, you have to be, yeah, look a certain way and um, I think, again, it's just very telling and, like we said earlier at the start about Bath and how you had to present yourself and how people judged you in in different ways, um, but yeah, I think that's, yeah, that's super, super interesting, um, I think, in terms of other other kind of things that I've picked up on as well, obviously, they do talk a lot about the different places they go to, like the theatre and um, and shopping as well and things like that. But also, I think we'll discuss a little bit more of that, I think, when we come on to persuasion. But one thing in Northanger Abbey I thought was quite interesting was the scene. You know, when they go to, um, there's the trip to Blaze Castle that, yeah, that John Thorpe organises. So I think this was.

Ellis: 26:17

This is when I think Catherine, she was meant to be meeting Henry Tilney and his sister, and there's that whole incident where they basically like force her to go on this trip when she's like no, I wanted to go meet my friends, her to go on this trip, when she's like no, I wanted to go meet my friends, um, and they go up to um a place called Blaze Castle, which is somewhere actually that exists still today. So it's just on the outskirts of Bristol and it's funny because, um, john Thorpe describes it as, like the finest place in England. It's the oldest in the kingdom, this castle. But what's really funny is that blaze castle is not actually a castle, it's a folly. It was built in 1766.

Ellis: 26:57

It's part of a house which is kind of in the gothic revival style, um, and you would go up there just to kind of have a look at the view and the view across the river, um, up near bristol, and it's just again that theme of like fakeness and facade coming through again, because it's just like this, this castle, which is meant to be, you know, the the finest and oldest in the kingdom, is just a fake, essentially, and instead of going to see her friends, who are genuine and lovely, she's forced to go on this trip with these people who are sort of caught up in this fakeness and selfishness and they go to see this castle, which isn't even a proper castle, which is such a good metaphor, I think, for for Bath in itself.

Ellis: 27:35

I think it reflects that whole idea of yeah also just classic John Thorpe oh my god, all the comments that he makes honestly like anything that he says is usually wrong like it's so funny when you unpack.

Izzy: 27:45

Like me and Martha have spoken about that a lot when we do, when we read the books that are mentioned in Northanger Abbey and like John Thorpe trying to make out like he's all smart, but when you actually read the books you realize a lot of what he says is either obvious he's not actually read the book or he's referring to an entirely different book, like a totally different book. Um, so I love that.

Izzy: 28:06

I think that's the most funniest thing ever when you when you travel these more like more detailed knowledge of the time, and so I think, northanger Abbey above all of them. I'm recognizing that the more information you have on, like Regency England, what people were doing at the time, like, the more you can actually enjoy the book, because there's so much more to it and there's like like, there's jokes, there's comments that you don't actually you're not able to appreciate until you look at it and what is it like that with blaze castle, like the fact that it's not even a castle?

Ellis: 28:35

yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it's so funny, isn't it? And there's um. I think that's what I love about what you know, what your podcast as well brings out is the fact that we're able to sit down and have a conversation about um, like a theme or a topic or a scene, and then when you start looking into it, it's just so much fun, because then you start to see those little clues and those nods to certain things, and I think that's again just another reason why people just love Jane Austen so much because of all these little things that you can keep delving into time and time again. But yeah, I just thought that was absolutely hilarious, because I remember being told about Blaise Castle when I was an undergrad and then I just suddenly read it and I was like, oh yeah, that is a complete metaphor for Bath.

Izzy: 29:13

I think as well. Like I said, I've not spent loads of time in.

Izzy: 29:17

Bath but when I, when I was there, I think there is, um, an element of like the theatrics there. Just in the way that it is like it, it almost looks like a stage because everything is so well presented everywhere and it has got this like very Roman, classical influence to it. The stone is obviously like stunning, it's like this beige colour, but it very much does feel like a bit of a theatre production, like the backdrop, the setting of a theatre production. So I think that's interesting.

Ellis: 29:49

It very much is. I think, yeah, because they've taken always that inspiration from that kind of architecture and sort of like put it on steroids, essentially. And I think what's really interesting as well, it's something that I always come back to time and time again when I sort of introduce people to Bath and showing them around and you look at places like the Royal Crescent, which is just absolutely perfect in terms you stand in front of it, which is just absolutely perfect in terms you stand in front of it and it's just that beautiful sort of curve with all these beautifully matching houses. That just it just looks amazing. And yet if you look at the aerial view or you go behind the crescent, you look at the back of it, it is an absolute mess. Like the architecture at the back, like basically each house, I think I believe, was given to sort of a different builder at the time and so they could just do what the heck they wanted with it. So each section of the royal crescent behind was designed completely differently. So there's, like you know, different bits sticking out here and there. Some have got like bigger gardens, some haven't. There's like kind of blocks of windows, things coming up all behind it. It's just like a big mismatch of of yeah, of building work behind.

Ellis: 30:54

And you look at the back of the royal crescent compared to the front and again, I think that is such a metaphor for bath and for this idea of politeness and this, yeah, this absolute facade that is bath, the theatrical, like you say about it, making it look on, show and perfect and wonderful.

Ellis: 31:11

And you look at the back and everyone's just kind of you know there's probably like in Northanger Abbey, there's there's scandal and secrets. You look at Isabella Thorpe and the whole deal with um, was it Captain Tooney, wasn't it? And about all of that happening and um, how she herself was very fake. She came across as a very lovely and nice friend for Catherine, but it turns out she wasn't and she was actually not a very nice person at all. So again, all these different things I think reflective of Bath and it's very much reflected in the architecture as well. I think that does actually move quite nicely into persuasion, because I think persuasion is definitely, it plays even more on that idea of society and of, yeah, like society and rank and your position, and money and wealth and things like that. I think it explores more of that, uh, those characteristics in in the story as well.

Izzy: 32:02

I'm gonna eat a bit of my cookie my bath mug as well.

Ellis: 32:09

Yeah, this wasn't actually a plan like it was just the one I chose today.

Ellis: 32:13

So there we go, I think with persuasion. I've got written down that basically I found anyway that bath is first mentioned in chapter two. So this is when the elliots are deciding what to do, um to save money when they rent out kelly inch hall. Um, and this is where we learn, actually, of Anne's dislike for Bath, and it says she disliked Bath, did not think he agreed with her and yet Bath was to be her home again, potentially reflective of Jane Austen's thoughts there. So this book obviously came a bit later and maybe she's going to be a bit more severe on on how she views it looking back, um, but yeah, I think.

Ellis: 32:50

But then this idea that carries, I think Lady Russell sort of thinks that this dislike for Bath that Anne has is a bit of a prejudice because it arises from the fact that Anne was there, I think it says, for school and after her mother's death as well, and so I think it's interesting that she mentions being in school for three years. I think I know that Jane Austen did not have a very good time at the school she was sent to for three years, so I don't know whether she's kind of putting that on Anne's character as well. Um, so if you have been to a place where it's really not had had been a nice experience and obviously you're not going to want to go back. So maybe she's sort of intertwining two different yeah, definitely.

Izzy: 33:30

Maybe that was like austin's experience as well, because obviously there is this notion that she didn't quite enjoy her time in bath, and I guess if you don't have a great experience somewhere sometimes it is so much then it's harder than you. It's kind of, um, your view of it when you look back is just great, isn't it? And I do think, um, even though I don't think the ties between aust and Anne Elliot are so obvious, I think they do have a lot of similarities. I think Austin's a little bit more outspoken than Anne is, but I think there's a sense that neither of them like to be front and centre, they like to be more the observers like taking a step back, watching observers, like taking a step back watching um. And so, again, I think that probably I can understand why neither person would like gravitate to a place like bath, whereas other characters probably would like.

Izzy: 34:21

I mean, it is a shame that someone like emma woodhouse doesn't have that kind of exposure like she's doesn't leave home because I actually think she'd thrive somewhere like bath yeah, yeah, yeah, she probably would.

Ellis: 34:34

And it's like her. The characters would be like I said, like her, her sister and her father, who are a lot more kind of boisterous and showy and you know, they actually really, really enjoy going to to bath. There's that horrific moment in the new persuasion netflix film where they're talking about it around the dinner table and they're going oh, you'll be like a, you know, if you're a 10 here, you'll be like a 13 in bath or something like that, and it's just. I know it's horrific, but it kind of shows, it reflects their personalities and have what they're going to sort of gain from that, but also just to suggest that there's some very unattractive people in bath because it's like you know.

Izzy: 35:12

I mean, if you're like an eight somewhere else, you boosted up like two points, like just for going to Bath.

Ellis: 35:17

So yeah, yeah, you're going to Bath and you're like, yeah, you're up there, which, I guess, is that comparison to London. It's it shows again, it's that right, it's sort of second rate to London. It's if you can't afford to go to London, you'll go to Bath. Essentially, so, um, I think that's probably part of it as well yeah because, yeah, people would go and do their yeah, yeah, their season there.

Ellis: 35:41

And also, you've got to remember that Bath is, um, a lot of people went there for like medical reasons too. So you had a lot of sort of older men going there because of their gout and things like that. So the and a lot of people with health complaints. So there might have been a lot of people there who potentially didn't look that great because of maybe potential health things or, you know, weren't in the best of health. So it might be, um, a slight kind of reference to that as well, um, in terms of, yeah, the kind of people who will be, who will be going going to bath. So a lot of people do go to socialize, but a lot of people do go for their health.

Izzy: 36:17

There might be people who we wouldn't be in their best no, yeah, that's so interesting, like it's just the spa massive spa resort that it was um, which makes sense. I mean you go to spa to socialize as well as relax don't you, so I I think I can totally get that.

Izzy: 36:32

Um, it's interesting to me that people in regency england seem very health conscious, like we see that a lot with characters like mr woodhouse and emma. But um, there's so much reference to places like bath being good for health or going to the seaside because that's really good for your health, like that comes a lot up a lot in um sanderton, like in the adaptation that was made. But also I'm pretty sure that comes up a lot in Emma also, because John Knightley and his wife and their children, they all go away and Mr Woodhouse is like well, you know, our doctor says this and that like what's good and things. So it's just interesting, they're all quite all. It's very health conscious, aren't?

Ellis: 37:11

they.

Izzy: 37:11

Yeah.

Ellis: 37:15

Yeah, I think that's because you think about, obviously back then if you did contract something like even just a cold or a flu, like it could be death, deadly at the end of the day. So I think, just being definitely more conscious about that, and I think, with Bath itself is a place which probably carried on those sentiments which the way back, you know, the Romans had of kind of health and cleanliness. Way back, you know, the romans had of kind of health and cleanliness and they've kind of taken those values and put them into their sort of georgian regency version of it. Um, and it's carried on because it's got, you know that, the hot springs, the natural hot springs. It's just got those natural associations with health and cleanliness and what was already there when sort of romans originally came, because they, you know, they settled there because of the, because of the hot springs.

Izzy: 38:00

I definitely want to talk about that. I definitely do um.

Ellis: 38:03

I just want to mention as well, I think it's um, I think it's so wild.

Izzy: 38:07

The regency is such a bizarre short time period but it's almost like a renaissance, to like the classical period like. It's very strange. It just like pops out of nowhere, has its own little like. It has its own fashion, which again is roman classical influence. You know those empire waistlines. Then you've got all everybody flocking to bath. Like bath was not on the map before the regency era. The regency era hits and suddenly bath's like the place to be. So it's just fascinating. Like it's just its own. It's really weird to me. It's just like its own universe, isn't it the regency?

Ellis: 38:38

like regency england yeah, yeah, it's a really interesting period. It's a little bit like the edwardian period, I feel as well, because that was quite a short period of time and yet that kind of had its social etiquette. Yeah, um, yeah, time slotting in between, yeah, yeah. So it's, yeah, really interesting. It's a whole other conversation that we could go into at this point, I know. So, I mean, before we talk about the, because we were going to talk about some locations like the pump room, weren't we?

Ellis: 39:10

I think one thing that I wanted to discuss as well, a couple of things first of all, which comes through quite prominently in Persuasion, is first of all, well, a couple of things first of all, which is quite comes through quite prominently in persuasion, is first of all, um, the, the amount of locations that are sort of mentioned and addresses in persuasion. So Jane Austen is very good at sort of, obviously you can tell she lived there and knew intimately kind of what areas connected with your kind of social wealth. So she very much, she's very good at sort of saying on so-and so lived here and they lived there on this street and that street, and you don't even need to explain anything further beyond that, because that should already tell someone all that they need to know about that person if they lived in a certain place. And I think there was like there's, there's this moment where I think, um, mr elliott comes to the house and, um, anne elliott's father goes. He's like a knock at the door, it's so late. Could it be mr elliott? They knew he was to dine in lansdowne crescent and it was like this obvious, he, like anne elliott's father, is just so obviously kind of like just dropping in the fact he was meant to be going to lansdowne crescent, which was an extremely sort of wealthy area at the top of Bath, overlooking Bath, and people who lived there were extremely wealthy, and he's just kind of like dropping that into conversation, like, oh, he can't be here, he's meant to be in Lansdowne Crescent, you know, and that in itself just says so much about them because he's trying to associate himself with that person who goes to visit somewhere like Lansdowne Crescent. So if he's associated with someone who goes to that kind of address, therefore he's going to be sort of respected more and it's that whole idea.

Ellis: 40:48

You know, when they say about when their cousins arrive, um, they, they want to associate themselves with their rich cousins because their nobility and it's all about who you're seen with and where you live and who you can name drop and things like that. And I think, and again they sort of say, oh, it's our cousins and they live at Laura Place, which again would have been a very respectable area. And in contrast to that, you then have Anne's friend, mrs Smith, who is poor, she's a widow and she lives in Westgate buildings. Um, westgate buildings refers to the old sort of city, medieval walls, and that is the lower end of town, near the river, and near the river was kind of where a lot of the poorer people lived. Um, you have places like, I think, avon Street and Milk Street, which is still there today, and um, I think, as I mentioned this earlier, but if you look at again, like I say, in the census records at this time, you can have a look at the kinds of people who are living in these areas.

Ellis: 41:48

So you look at the houses in places like Milk Street and Avon Street and you've got just people with all different kinds of occupations and loads of people in the same house and you know that they're all kind of sharing its lodgings.

Ellis: 41:59

And then you go somewhere else and you look at the places further up. Basically, the higher you went in Bath so Lansdowne is at the top the more wealth you had, and so even the landscape of Bath kind of reflects this hierarchy. And you look at then the records of people living in those houses and it's all kind of nobility and people with wealth. So I find that really funny as well, how kind of yeah, the higher you go in the actual city, the more wealth you've got, and then the lower down near the near the river you are, the less wealth you've got. And it's funny when Sir Walter Elliot makes that comment of um, when Anne's been to visit her friend Mrs Smith and he says Westgate buildings must have been rather surprised by the appearance of a carriage which again is just so snobby but just shows like how an area like that would just not have had those kind of people visiting.

Izzy: 42:46

It was quite a big deal for wow, oh, my goodness, and what a reminder for the people who were, you know, are not as well off just looking up it.

Ellis: 42:54

Probably their employers like hello, like they're just there constantly on there literally in their ivory towers, like that's literally and then the other notable location I think in Persuasion is is Milsom Street as well. So this is towards the top of Bath, which, again, you can still go today and there's still some really nice places to visit. Um, and that was somewhere where you go to go shopping and I think it's really nice that. I think it's mentioned a lot as well in Northanger Abbey and I think it's another one of those locations which is quite nice to pick out, because I think it must have been somewhere that Jane Austen must have spent a lot of time kind of wandering up and down. I think they had like libraries up there as well and it's I think Anne meets Admiral Croft on Milsom Street.

Ellis: 43:39

I think she bumps into him and he's looking inside a print shop, and print shops were I think a lot of them were more based in London, but what they do is they have these windows with sort of satirical prints in them, a bit like today, if you were to go on Instagram and scroll through, you get sort of memes of you know different political jokes and things like that. I think it's kind of the equivalent of that and you'd be able to kind of go and have a look at sort of all these artists who are doing kind of cartoons and jokes about society and a little bit kind of it's like a little bit like propaganda as well, but they were satire and it kind of again reflects this, these thoughts maybe that Austen had on Bath because it was just sort of the fact that she put that in that Admiral Croft was stood outside the print shop window he could have been stood outside anything and this again is reflected of that satire and a little bit jokey and making fun of society. It's really interesting that she adds that in there and it was a really kind of key, yeah, really important part, I think, of society and that's just a part of what they, what they had. Um, if you do want to read more on that, I know that, um, historian Alice Loxton. She's really great on social media.

Ellis: 44:47

She's on TikTok and Instagram. She's just recently written a book called Uproar which kind of goes into a lot more of that.

Izzy: 44:52

so I definitely recommend it yeah, I'm about part way through that. I'm really enjoying it so far, so I also recommend that one. I think, um, it's a really good read. Um, yeah, I think again, it just shows how well Austen signposts things that are really significant to the time that she was living in it's really important, I think, plays to actually understanding people and what they were thinking and what they were feeling and who they were.

Ellis: 45:16

And again, I think it is why people do flock to all these different places to try and feel like they're closer to Jane Austen, trying to understand the choices that she made as well, about where she set certain things maybe in her books, or what she experienced and how that reflected in in her writing. But I think that's, yeah, very, very interesting. Did you want to discuss a bit about? Was it the pump rooms as well? Yeah, I'd love to chat about that and also to talk about concerts because I know that comes up quite a bit in persuasion.

Izzy: 45:45

And Austin herself, like, writes in, I think, one of her letters. She says um, and even the concerts. And even the concerts will have more than its usual charm with me, as the gardens are large enough for me to get pretty well beyond the reach of its sound. I just think that's so funny. But also shows, again, like austin's, this person that just likes to be a little bit more in the background. But you know, I mean she goes to this concert where she wants to be quite far back in the garden so that she's not like front and center. This is why you go to bath, right, you go to them, you can go, so that you can be exposed to these kind of environments yeah, yeah.

Ellis: 46:17

So people would go like they would kind of promenade around the sort of royal crescent and places like that or go to the assembly rooms, the pump rooms, and kind of taking the waters was something else that people would go to do in bath and obviously we've touched on already kind of, um, people went to bath because of sort of needing, kind of for health reasons, and they would go and drink the waters because of that. Whether it's something like gout or even something you know, people would actually go'd take women there and kind of think that by drinking the waters it would help them with their sort of fertility or being able to get pregnant which is just a whole other thing as well.

Ellis: 46:50

So, yeah, you can go and drink it. You can do that today as well. So when you've been around the hang on. I'm just going to stop because the guy in the lawnmower has just gone past. It was really loud.

Ellis: 46:59

Um, so when you go to visit the Roman baths, you can't. You go around the museum and at the end there is actually an opportunity where you can kind of go and drink some of the water. Um, that's the hot spring and I've done it. It's like it. Basically, there's no kind of nice way to describe it. You only have like a little bit, but it's warm for one thing. So the water is warm and it's very kind of like sulfury and also almost a bit like and this is gross, but like, because it's got copper in it. So it's a little bit like that. So it's like a sulfur, it's gross. Okay, I'm not selling this, I know, but that's that's what it. That's basically what it was.

Ellis: 47:36

So if you can go and drink the waters today as well, people would go, obviously for health reasons. But there was also this idea of like you go to be seen and to see other people. So you were going again, kind of go and meet people there and people would also go and sign their name and like a register or like a book that was there, and then you could go and have a look in the book and see who else had kind of come in and if you were looking for someone in particular, or if there was you know, you're waiting for your, your bow to arrive, or someone, what you know, and you saw that they were there. You can then know that they were in bath and maybe you could go drop around with your calling card or something like that, if you're a gentleman, to see that you could see that someone had had arrived in bath, and so that was just quite, yeah, an interesting aspect of that's so funny that they have like a register for like everybody arriving in bath.

Izzy: 48:20

It's like just a giant party, it's all.

Ellis: 48:23

It's very like one big like party.

Izzy: 48:24

I guess you've got the master of ceremonies, like you say you're hosting it, and then you've got, like the register it seems so fitting that the jane austen festival is there, because it's very much like a festival itself, like how it was in bath that went and you had all these different activities and it was across like obviously a whole season. But yeah, it gives me it's very much festival vibes.

Ellis: 48:46

That's such an interesting thing as well because I did some research in my master's degree on.

Ellis: 48:51

This was actually in the Edwardian period, which I mentioned earlier, which is kind of similar to the Regency period, and in that period period in Bath they were kind of obsessed with pageants and pageantry and it's interesting that this theme of parties continued on and they did this whole celebration of Bath and did like a pageant on Georgian Bath as well and did their own sort of interpretation and and festival on it.

Ellis: 49:14

So it's just, yeah, interesting that this idea is still woven through the years after that. Um, but yeah, I mean, the pump rooms is definitely somewhere where you should go and see, and although it's not there anymore, like jay loston also mentions the white heart, which was a major coaching in at the time, and this was actually the location of where um captain wentworth writes his letters and it was. It's also been mentioned and I think charles dickens and some of his works as well. So it's also been mentioned in, I think Charles Dickens and some of his works as well. So it's quite an important area again for meeting people and that's where the sort of line reunion happens, because they go back and and see each other there. So again just another interesting.

Izzy: 49:52

Something that we were saying to you earlier that I want to just pick up on here for listeners also, is what really stands out to me with bath, um and we see this a lot in persuasion is how conversation and socializing is so fluid there.

Izzy: 50:05

Um, because if you think about all the different situations that we have in persuasion, how wentworth and ann rarely communicate through a lot of the novel, but then once they get to bath, how conversation is able to flow much more freely. And that's when, when we're able to, you know, actually write his letter and declare his feelings. And I think there is something about bath that kind of breaks down these like barriers in a sense, and I know it seems to have its own rules about how to engage with people. But there also seems to be this this more there's more freedom there to kind of communicate to people, to get to know people, and and so I can imagine of all the places, like I get why it was somewhere that people would flock for the season and like if you're in the marriage markets and stuff, because it almost just breaks down those, those walls that have been up everywhere else and you can suddenly just be very free to socialize and it gave opportunities for people to socialize as well, like the whole dancing and meeting at the pump room.

Ellis: 51:01

You could probably go off quickly to a quiet corner and have a conversation with the person you were sort of courting, but you weren't obviously allowed to be left alone.

Ellis: 51:09

But there are loads of opportunities to be able to do that, and even places like sydney gardens. So where jane austen lived in the first house, she lived opposite sydney gardens, which was basically like the, the bath version of voxel gardens, which was a place in london where they had sort of displays and fireworks and parties and events and things like that and mazes, and so you could go there and sort of maybe get lost in the gardens in the dark with fireworks and things like that. And, um, again, another sort of opportunity for those sorts of things. And I think quite nice for jane austen to live opposite sydney gardens. I think she spent a lot of time there actually, just because it sort of meant she could pretend she was back in the countryside. But yeah, when they had their displays of fireworks and balloons, I think and all sorts, it was another opportunity just to be a little bit more free.

Izzy: 51:53

The syphilis boy in the Regency era is. I think it sounds great. Actually, in so many ways I'm just like it sounds awesome, like it just mental yeah yeah, I mean the prince regent.

Ellis: 52:06

I think he was pretty out there, wasn't he? I mean, he built that pavilion in brighton, which is just absolutely mental, like it's just crazy, and I think he was basically think about that horrible history song about him, like that's what it says like the king little party, yeah but I think essentially, what I would kind of conclude on with persuasion is it's generally a novel that shows using Bath to kind of show how I think classes were changing as well.

Ellis: 52:31

So you say that there was like a increase in people being able to mix in society. So I think like the aristocracy was mixing more with like this emerging class of society of wealth. You had the Navy who was mixing with wealthy people and I think it's just this people like Sir Walter were born into wealth rather than this emerging class of people who are actually making their wealth, whether it's the Navy or something else. And I think it shows how Bath was bringing together all the different types of people.

Izzy: 53:08

Yeah, and I can see why that may have been the case as well, like in terms of socialising, because even though a lot of people would have gone to London for work, like if they were emerging money, like we see that with the bingleys and trade and everything, I think there was probably easier to break into society and bath than it was in london anyway, because, um, I think you could probably go under the radar. Not everybody is very aware of who everyone is there, compared to london, where I think title would have meant more. So, yeah, I think it's. It's really interesting that as well, like you said, that it kind of shows by later in that time period how things were changing and then would continue to change.

Ellis: 53:47

The only other thing I just wanted to touch on as well was obviously a little bit just more Jane and and her experience in Bath. So Jane's part, for her personally. So she obviously, as you said, departed to go to Bath in like 1801. And I think what's interesting is that Bath wasn't picked randomly for that. So Mr and Mrs Austin actually were married in Bath, so for them I think that was one reason why they came back to it and they also had relations there as well.

Ellis: 54:14

So I think Mrs Austin's relations, so Mr and Mrs Lee Perrett lived there I think they were um relations of some sort, and I think they stayed there with them for a bit whilst they were house hunting and trying to find somewhere to live. And again, I think they had that struggle of trying to find the right address. But they obviously had limited money. But as I said, where you lived in bath is very reflective of who you were. So you tried to kind of get as best you could with the money you had and I think their first house at 4 Sydney Place was very kind of respectable. It was really in a nice area off Portney Street, um, and you have the Holborn Museum at the end, which people now know as um Lady Danbury's house from Bridgerton. So that's where Jane Austen was living, so she was living opposite that, that house, um, so I think it's just, yes, I think there was a real struggle to find an address.

Ellis: 55:05

I think what was sad as well is that when her father died, he died when they were in Bath. They then had to. They kind of went progressively from like quite a good place to just progressively worse places in Bath, which is um, which was really quite, quite sad essentially and, as I said, it was very reflective of where you lived. So the Elliotts lived in Camden Place and, um, I did a bit of research into Camden Place of where the Elliotts were living, in persuasion and because of basically that whole row of houses. Half of it was knocked down apparently when they moved in during that time. So that was basically knocked down in 1788, which basically reflects that that row of houses was not a stable place to be living. Therefore your finances were not stable either. So again, it's kind of that metaphor for, obviously, sir, sir walter elliott's financial situation.

Ellis: 55:57

So, again, there must have been. Yeah, it was crumbling around him basically, and I think it just shows how much that impacted Jane Austen maybe the fact that she did have to move around so much, and how much maybe it must have been a stress for them as well, trying to find somewhere which, yeah, reflected them in a in a good way essentially, um, but I think one thing that we keep coming back to Jane Austen as well is how important family is, and I think it's because of family she was able to get through those difficult times in Bath. Um, which I kind of found a passage in um Northanger Abbey, when I think Henry Tilney is asking Catherine about her time in Bath essentially, and if she's enjoying it, and she basically makes a comment about the fact that I'm just seeing if I can find it now. It was really interesting because she basically makes a comment about how the best thing basically was.

Ellis: 56:58

I think her brother coming was a highlight and if only she had her family there, it would be amazing. And so she doesn't talk about any of the things that you can do like, oh, I love it because I can go to the theatre and I can do this and I could do that, but actually, oh no, I love it because I've got friends and family here and actually if my family here, it would be even better. And so again, it just shows that I think for Jane Austen, I think as long as she had her family around her, I think that was the most important thing, and then she could make up.

Izzy: 57:24

Yeah, I love that and maybe one of the other reasons why she found it so hard, you know, leaving behind like a lot of her friends and family who live were still living in like the rural side, um, yeah, it must have been quite difficult as well, and obviously I mean, it's always going to hold a an unhappy memory. If you lose a parent there, like that is just going to tarnish your view of a place forever, really unfortunately. So I can see it and I think I think it's the. The statement that she hated bath is kind of thrown out there just like willy-nilly, and I kind of love the fact that you know the centre's there and, um, the festival's held there now as well, um, because realistically, um, you know, I don't think it was as black and white as that. I think she's, obviously she went through a lot in Bath, but I don't think it's just she just hated Bath, um, so yeah, I think it's um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ellis: 58:20

When I was, when I was reading Lucy Worsley's book on Jane Austen at home, she has a chapter on Bath which I really recommend reading again, and and she does actually say that there was evidence at first that Jane did actually enjoy Bath at first, despite, you know, being told when she was told she was moving, she did actually actually fainted when she heard about it. Um, and I think, as you say, people tend to kind of put, superimpose the, the really kind of um, I don't know what the word is, but the feelings of, kind of the very extreme feelings that anne elliott had, maybe, of maybe hating, buff onto jane and, like you say, although there were some similarities there, I don't think anne elliott is, is the same character as Jane Austen, as you said, and it's easy to just think, because that's maybe quite a sad novel because, um, you know, catherine Morland was in a book that was. It was a bit of satire, but I think Bath would have been the perfect place to actually set a book. If you're going to do satire, like it wouldn't have worked as well if she'd have set it somewhere else.

Ellis: 59:20

So of course she had to set it in Bath, but that might not then directly mean that she hated it all. I think it was a very like you say. I think there would have been ups and there would have been downs with it, like, say, when she lost her father especially. But maybe there were times when she was living there which she did really enjoy it. You did have everything on your doorstep and you could. It was an opportunity to meet new people, and especially with Jane and Cassandra living quite rural, their social circle was probably quite limited and it might have given them the opportunity to meet some else.

Izzy: 59:48

Like I was saying at the start of the episode, you know Bath provided a lot of inspiration for Austen and gave her the ability to do what she does best and that's observe society, and you know that translates into her novels. So I think it's true.

Ellis: 1:00:05

Yeah, where else better to go to observe society than Bath? And I think it actually has given us two brilliant novels they have influenced, I think, two brilliant novels that might not have actually come about, definitely.

Izzy: 1:00:17

I agree.

Ellis: 1:00:18

I have a few places um, I'm going to just run through now which we might have just discussed slightly in our conversation, which would just be good recommendations to go if you're ever planning a trip to Bath. But at this point I'd just also like to recommend further reading as well. So, as I mentioned, if you do want to find out more about Jane Austen and her story of where she lived and yeah, because it wasn't just Bath that she went to and I think if you read Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen at Home, which is this book here, it's really good at talking you through the different places that she lived and how each one would have influenced different parts of writing and her life, and I really recommend that. And also, um, I think a lot of Jane Austen fans as well might have heard of the author Georgette Heyer. So she does a lot of amazing um, like historical novels set in the same period as well, and her attention to historical detail in her books is just insanely amazing. I mean, I don't lie when I think I based a lot of my undergrad essays on that period on her books. Like using her books is kind of like it was through through reading those, I learned so much about the period, um. So books like I think there's Bath Tangle, lady of Quality and Black Sheep they're all ones that are set in Bath, as well as many others which are just amazing, if you want to just be immersed further in that period, I definitely recommend reading those.

Ellis: 1:01:42

And then I think, if we, yeah, if we go into a very quick, brief kind of trip roundup of places, you can go in Bath. So obviously we've mentioned Sydney Place. So for Sydney Place, you can go and see where Jane Austen lived. That was the first house she lived in and it is opposite Sydney Gardens and the, the holborn museum, which holds a great collection of sort of 18th century william holborn's collection, which is great, and, um, as I said, it was lady danbury's house in bridgerton, so you get to kind of see quite a lot there, um, and then you've got pulteney street, which it leads on to and pulteney bridge, which is great.

Ellis: 1:02:15

Obviously, go see the royal crescent and the circus as well. Um, just off the circus and the royal crescent there's a little street which, um, if you get a chance, go go up there because there is, um, there's a shop called bath old books which is full of lots of antiquarian and vintage books and jane austen old copies of jane austen books as well which is wonderful to go and have a browse. If you're ever in that area, so definitely recommend that. And then you can head down to Victoria Park, and adjacent to Victoria Park, just below the Royal Crescent, is the Gravel Walk where, famously, captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot walked in persuasion, sort of realised that they did love each other and so, yeah, definitely recommend walking down there. So it's lovely that that is actually a real place that you can go and walk down yourself again, just in the time period

Ellis: 1:03:06

yeah, yes, yeah, it's called lover's lane, yeah, so it's such a lovely thing that you can actually go, and, yeah, go to that place and and visit somewhere that's actually in the book, which is lovely, um, and then you've got just off the circus. You have Gay Street as well, which is where the Jane Austen Centre is situated. So, definitely a must if you're in the area, go to the Jane Austen Centre. It's a brilliant sort of immersive experience, and all the guides are dressed up as different characters, um, and they sort of take you around. And Gay Street was also somewhere where I think Jane Austen did live for a bit. I think she had a house just further up from the museum. So, definitely head there.

Ellis: 1:03:45

Fun fact, I worked there for I think two months and then Covid hit so that I couldn't work there anymore. So that was going to be my job before things went up in the air. So I did work there for a couple of months. Actually, oh my gosh, don't I? I did not even know that. It was so fun working there and, yeah, you had to like questions and everything.

Ellis: 1:04:10

So it's, yeah, a really really cool place and it has a really cool gift shop. Like, if you're into the gift shops. It's good. So definitely go there, um. And then, yeah, head to the pump rooms and the abbey as well, and just off the abbey you have, like, abbey square and the abbey green and it's a really lovely like cobbled stone area with lovely houses, and it is very much like stepping back into maybe what, um, bath would have looked like when Jane Austen was was around, and one of the shop fronts is what I think Bridgerton used for, um, the tea shop. In the first series as well, they used that as the inspiration.

Ellis: 1:04:44

So definitely head down there, um, it's a really lovely sort of quaint area and I've been quite. There's a beautiful tree in the middle and, yeah, cobblestones around, so it's lovely, um. And then you've got the, yeah, upper assembly rooms, as I mentioned. Please go to that. They're owned by the National Trust now, and so, yeah, just have a look and see what they've got. The upper assembly rooms, as I mentioned, please go to that. They're owned by the National Trust now, and so, yeah, just have a look and see what they've got available, because it's a beautiful space and I would say I'd totally get in a National Trust membership because, there's a lot of other places that you can go as well, like Lyme Park, for instance, which was Pemberley, is a National Trust.

Izzy: 1:05:15

There's also, if you listen to the episode that I did with the authors of Jane Was here we mentioned quite a few locations that are National Trust specific, which are also Austin specific, so I really recommend getting the membership.

Ellis: 1:05:30

It's worth every penny. I think there's also a young person's membership you can get if you're under 25. I'm so sad that I'm like I know, I mean, I'm gutted well, I've got a couple of months. Actually, I've never knew mine now, so I still get that because yeah, yeah, I'm so sad because I have I've now passed the age where apparently I'm meant to have my life together, so I can afford a proper national trust membership, but no so.

Ellis: 1:05:59

I can't get the one, but yeah, I definitely recommend it, absolutely does. It pays for itself.

Izzy: 1:06:04

You do it, you go on, you may be going to just two locations that I'd say that pays for it. Um, 100%, and also um. I have the visitor's passport. I don't know if you have one of these as well, elle, but these are really cool because then you can get stamps for the locations that you go to. So really recommend getting one of those as well. Um, we're just here promoting the national trust.

Ellis: 1:06:23

Yeah, super, we love it yeah, I love it, we've got a lot of students yes, we will be promoting the national trust, love it, and also um. Further afield, you've also got Stourhead, which was the filming location for the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film. So, again, that's National Trust. If you want to head there, it's about a 40 minute drive from Bath, so definitely plan that in. If you're about Other places in Bath, though, you've obviously got Milson Street, where the shopping shops and shopping are. So I think, yeah, as I said, jane Austen probably would have gone up there to do her shopping. And you've got St Swithin's Church just on going out towards London Road, and that is where Jane Austen's parents got married, I believe, and I think her father is also buried in the graveyard there as well. So it's a really beautiful church, so I definitely recommend it. It's lovely inside. It's got kind of like balconies and things and, yeah, really really lovely. So that's St Swithin's Church and then Beech and Cliff or Alexandra Park. So this is sort of at the top of Bath and it is in Northanger Abbey. It is actually where Henry Tilney and Catherine and Miss Tilney go for their walk, you know, when they eventually do get out to go to their walk and they're talking about history and books and all of those different things. They're actually walking up on Beech and Cliff, which is now called Alexandra Park, and it's got the best view of Bath. You can just see the whole city and it's absolutely beautiful. And it kind of goes on to what's known as the National Trust Skyline Walk as well and there's also sometimes, I think on a Saturday, they have something called the Shoebox Cafe, which is like shoe buns in a little trailer. It's the best. If you want to go have like a treat, go have nice little shoe buns with a hot chocolate and look at the view above. Please go up there. It is great.

Ellis: 1:08:15

And yeah, like I said, the Skyline Walk is nearby and on the Skyline Walk there is a place called Sham Castle which is similar to Blaze Castle. So it's another folly. So if you want to go somewhere similar to like Blaze Castle, um, in Northanger you can go to Sham Castle, but I think Blaze Castle you can still visit. That's near Bristol, um, if you wanted to go see Blaze Castle as well, and then the only other major thing I think, in Bath as well, I mean, there's there's loads of other places, but try and get to Prior Park. So that's just on the outskirts of Bath as well.

Ellis: 1:08:49

It's a landscape garden um, and in Prior Park there is one of four Palladian bridges in the whole world situated there, and these beautiful, beautiful bridges, it's sort of it's really hard to describe, but it's just, it's just gorgeous. I think you've probably seen it, maybe on Instagram. A lot of people like to go and pose and have pictures there, but it's, it's just beautiful. You go have a lovely walk. There's a beautiful Palladian bridge. There's a similar one at stowe house if anyone's ever been to stowe, then they've got a similar one there as well and I think there's yeah, there's only four in the world and two of them are in the uk. So one at stowe, one at palladium, one at prior park, which is just great. And these gardens are designed by someone called capability brown, and capability brown was someone I think you would have heard if you've looked at sort of 18th century landscape and architecture. So it's a really good example of his. He's a famous gardener in the 18th century. A lot of the big country houses had him come and landscape the garden.

Izzy: 1:09:48

So it's a good example of that, which is, if anyone doesn't know, about Chatsworth, chatsworth is Pemberley in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice about chats with chats with is pembley in 2005.

Ellis: 1:09:59

Pride and prejudice. Yes, yeah, so definitely, if you're interested in gardens and landscape and architecture, definitely go there, because prior park the house as well is beautiful. Um, it was ralph allen, a guy called ralph allen, who actually built it and lived there and he was responsible for actually improving the postal road system at that time when he lived there. And he also bought the quarries all around Bath and was responsible for, like, buying and selling all the bath stones, all the bath stone you see in Bath today, that beautiful honey coloured stone. He owned all the quarries essentially and made all his money. So it's an example of someone who was able to make his money through trade and buy a beautiful, big state, well, build a big, beautiful, stately house and live, um, in this yeah, beautiful garden, beautiful house that looks onto bath. So he kind of just sees his like little empire of like all these other buildings made by his stone that he sells, so he just sits on the edge of bath.

Ellis: 1:10:51

I love this beautiful city which he has essentially built he's made it in life.

Izzy: 1:10:55

Well, he had made it in life like genuinely that's. That's the pinnacle yeah, yeah.

Ellis: 1:11:03

So that's, yeah, a really wonderful place to go and that is also national trust too, so worth worth getting it um. And then, yeah, as I mentioned, stourhead is further afield and also slightly further afield is a village called Laycock in Wiltshire. Um, I recommend going there because it was used as a filming location. So that is was used in the Pride and Prejudice 1995 version, um, and that's where the town of Meryton was filmed in Laycock. So there's, um, yeah, lots of nice area, this beautiful village as well as well. I think it's been used for a lot of films. I think Harry Potter was filmed in Laycock Abbey as well, in the cloisters. So it's I think the cloisters were also used for this scene in, you know, 1995 Pride and Prejudice where, like it flashes back to Mr Darcy.

Izzy: 1:11:50

He's like getting it on with somebody in that room.

Ellis: 1:11:53

Yeah yeah, so that scene with Wickham room, yeah, yeah, yeah, marching through, and it's the cloisters at lake lake abbey, I think which are used, and it opens the door.

Ellis: 1:12:03

Yeah, the wickham's there with that girl like, oh, um, yeah, so if you want to go see what's filmed, you can go to lake abbey, which is it's a really beautiful. And, again, national trust, get the national trust membership card, um, but yeah, I mean, that is just a few of my recommendations, but what I'm going to do as well is, around the time that this episode is going to come out, I'm also currently writing a blog post to go with this episode, to complement what we've been talking about, and on that blog post, I'm going to put all the recommendations down in writing. So everything I've just talked about now, plus some further recommendations for places in Bath and places further afield, even places to eat, if you're coming on a trip here, and so, yeah, it'd be great if you could check that out. If you're wanting to plan a trip to Bath, then please check that out, and also, obviously, the Jane.

Izzy: 1:12:55

Austen festival runs every single year in Bath. I will be going this year, so if anybody is also there, definitely come find me. And so, yeah, I know the tickets for that are actually on sale there. I think they're coming on sale. Well, most of them are already on sale. There's a few more things coming live, I think, in the next few weeks, so definitely look into that, because it sells out. Accommodation sells up really quickly, so if you are thinking of doing it, I recommend looking into that ASAP. I think that's everything from us today, yeah.

Ellis: 1:13:29

I hope people have enjoyed exploring Bath and its connections to Jane Austen and, as I say, there's so much more there that you could go on and explore and talk about.

Ellis: 1:13:43

But it's just been really lovely to, yeah, to explore a place associated with Jane and I hope that, if you are traveling to Bath soon, that you have an amazing time and, yeah, this will be really useful for you and I hope that you're able to experience your own heroine story. Yeah, so if you want to, yeah, come and find me or ask me any questions about Bath, then I'm mainly on Instagram, so it's at historian underscore Ellis. I'll also post on there what I've done the blog that I was talking about about places to visit in Bath, but I know Izzy will share that as well, so you guys will be able to find it easier. So, yeah, come and come and find me on Instagram. I'd love to have have you. I tend to share a lot about bath and jane austen. I'm also a history phd student, so, um, generally try and post some other history bits on there as well, about my research and things I'm interested in amazing.

Izzy: 1:14:28

That is everything from us today, and we will see you in another episode. ©. Transcript Emily Beynon.

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