The vibrant city of Bath was once home to celebrated novelist Jane Austen, who lived in the city in the early 1800s and set two of her novels there, with her writing bringing the Georgian metropolis to life. Today, developers Acorn Property Group and Galliard Homes, who have transformed the historic Hope House on Lansdown Road in Bath into new homes, have pledged support for the city’s Jane Austen Centre, an institution badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acorn and Galliard have donated £1,000 to the Jane Austen Centre, as part of the centre’s ongoing fundraising round which has seen hundreds of individuals from Bath, Somerset, and around the world donate. In addition, the developers will donate a further £100 for every home sold at Hope House upon completion between now and the end of March 2021. The funds will be used to support the centre’s reopening following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Set in a classically decorated townhouse, the Jane Austen Centre has operated for over 20 years offering museum exhibitions, the chance to dress up in Regency clothes, a specialist waxwork of Jane Austen and tea rooms. The Centre also hosts an annual festival in Jane Austen’s honour, with fans travelling from all over to walk in the costumed promenade, dine and dance bringing the era to life. The centre typically welcomes over 150,000 visitors every year, often receiving over 1,000 visitors a day during Summer, but has been shut for much of this year.
Located a short walk from Bath’s City Centre and the city’s heart, Hope House features a magnificent Grade II listed Georgian mansion which has been transformed into an exclusive collection of apartments along with a range of carefully created new-build apartments and townhouses set in six acres of beautiful parkland. Following an extensive restoration working with heritage specialists over three years, Hope House is now complete with residents enjoying their new homes and the latest phase of properties released for sale. The development is over 75% sold overall with residents loving the balance of countryside and city life.
Jane Austen was born 16th December 1775 in Hampshire, with the family moving to Bath in 1800. The Austen family lived there until 1806, whilst the city was thriving as a spa resort. Later moving back to Hampshire, Jane set two of her novels in Bath; Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818.
Although Jane Austen received some success during her lifetime, she has since become one of Britain’s most celebrated novelists amongst modern scholars, critics and society. Jane’s six main novels have been published, adapted and critiqued countless times, with the 2020 film adaptation of Emma the most recent version bringing her writing to a new audience.
Robin Squire, Regional Managing Director of Acorn’s Bristol office says: “We are pleased to donate to the Jane Austen Centre and play our part in ensuring the centre stays open to welcome new visitors. The preservation of Bath’s rich history and Georgian roots is important to us; with the transformation of Hope House we worked closely with heritage specialists to preserve the original Georgian architecture and bring the scheme to life for a new generation.”
David Galman, Sales Director at Galliard Homes said, “Bath has a wonderful history, with Jane Austen one of the significant writers who called this city home. We are saddened to hear the Jane Austen Centre has been so badly affected by COVID-19 this year. Alongside our donation, for every home that completes at Hope House between now and the end of March 2021, we are delighted to pledge further donations to the centre in support of their work and preserving Bath’s heritage.”
Paul Crossey, Managing Director of The Jane Austen Centre added, “We are delighted to accept this generous donation from Acorn & Galliard which helps secure the future of the Jane Austen Centre. 2020 has been a challenging year, particularly for tourism, but it has been incredible to receive so much support from individuals and from businesses. Jane Austen is a literary icon and we are committed to telling the story of Bath’s most famous resident for years to come. We will be opening as much as possible over this winter with a view to welcoming visitors from all around the world again in 2021.”
Hope House was originally the mansion of Hon. Charles Hamilton, the son of the 6th Earl of Abercorn, as a grand residential home built in 1781. Every home has been finished to a very high specification, with many offering private outdoor space, utility rooms and home offices, ideal for home working. There are beautiful views over the formal lawn towards the parkland beyond, with the additional benefit of a residents’ only tennis court, a concierge service, allocated parking and lift access.
The Jane Austen Centre is due to reopen this December and tickets need to be booked in advance. For further information please visit www.janeausten.co.uk.
Prices at Hope House currently range from £295,000 (for a 1 bedroom apartment) to £2,350,000 (for a 4 bedroom apartment). Following the government’s latest guidance, the Show Homes at Hope House are available to view by appointment. To view the virtual tours or for more information on Hope House please call Tel: 01225 614 307 or visit: acornpropertygroup.org/development/hope-house-bath