You may recall that Janet Clarke of the Jane Austen Society asked for our help in voicing our objections to the closure of a twitten, a few months ago. The twitten in question- which is ancient Sussex dialect for a small passageway between buildings – was in Worthing, and was almost certainly was used by Jane Austen when she stayed in the seaside town in Sussex during the autumn of 1805.

The current owners of the passageway, Stagecoach, wanted to close it on health and safety grounds as it was part of their bus depot. But as Janet explained, the twitten had strong links with Jane Austen and she (and others) considered that as part of our and Worthing’s Austen heritage it should remain open to he pubic. The twitten, Janet wrote…

would have been a delightful short cut from her (Jane Austen’s-jfw) residence, in the autumn of 1805, through open land to the seafront and circulating library. It is wonderful for visitors today, to walk in Jane’s footsteps , especially as Stanford Cottage and part of the circulating library are still standing ( the pathway directly links the two as it has done for over 200 years ). Permanently stopping up the pathway would be very detrimental to the Jane Austen trail in Worthing, damaging our heritage and tourism, and diminishing the overall appreciation of Jane Austen’s Worthing for present and future generations.

Janet has very kindly contacted me yesterday to let me know the results of the hearing into the proposed closure. She writes:

Although the inspector acknowledged the Jane Austen connection, the safety concerns won the day & the twitten, sadly, will be stopped up. However, all is not lost as Stagecoach will allow Austen fans, with prior consent, to walk the pathway.

So at least access to the passageway is not entirely lost.I am very glad that Stagecoach have agreed to allow pre-arranged access, at least.

I thought you might like to see a picture of the plaque that the Worthing Society placed on the building, Stanford Cottage,- now a branch of Pizza Express- where Jane Austen stayed during the autumn of 1805:

Plaque erected in Worthing to commemorate Jane Austen's stay there in 1805 ©The Worthing Society

Plaque erected in Worthing to commemorate Jane Austen’s stay there in 1805 ©The Worthing Society

If you go here you can read more about it.