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You may recall that a few months ago I wrote about the Jane Austen Festival that was going to be held at Worthing in Sussex. Janet Clark of Worthing and of the Jane Austen Society has done sterling work researching Jane Austen’s links with the town, particularly about the details of her visit there in the autumn of 1805. The festival took place at the end of May and Janet has very kindly written to me to let us all know how it went on. Here are some extracts from her email with some lovely photographs of the events:
I’m delighted to report that the festival proved a huge success, attracting over 1500 visitors to the exhibition & the various related events. Everyone said how much they enjoyed it and how interesting it was to learn about Jane Austen’s important connection with early Worthing. As well as the wonderful exhibition itself, I, personally, particularly enjoyed the carriage ride, the Georgian concert & the dancing class. It was wonderful to attempt my first minuet, (amongst much confusion & laughter, I might add) ! The first image is of our guest of honour, Mrs Dorothy Matsutani, ( the 6th great niece of Jane Austen & direct descendant of Rear-Admiral, Charles Austen ), who is seen here cutting the ribbon to open the festival, cheered on by Worthing West’s MP, Sir Peter Bottomley. The little boy in Regency dress had just presented Dorothy with a gift from the organisers. The second image is of an information board & a lovely Regency dress, which formed one of the many attractive exhibits in the Georgian Room at the Chatsworth Hotel. The third image is of the two wonderful ladies, in the exhibition room, who had made an assortment of Regency costumes for children & adults to try on. This was highly popular, the bonnets being particularly in demand with the lady-visitors and little girls ! The final image is of the magnificent horses & carriage, which gave visitors the unique opportunity to view Worthing as Jane Austen did. This all sounds wonderful and I am so glad that it was a great success, especially after everyone had worked very hard on the project. Congratulations to all involved !