Tag Archives: England
September 10, 2013

Off to England!

Jane AustenI’m headed to the UK to lead this year’s Historical Fashion Tour. My group will be in Bath for the opening of the Jane Austen Festival, then in Winchester and London. You can follow us over on my Facebook page, where I’ll be posting pictures and insights from the trip.

Come along with us for a virtual tour of England and all things Jane and historical fashion!

September 10, 2012

We’re here!

20120910-171112.jpgIt was quite an adventure getting from Kenya to Manchester, including the last-minute surprise of a child’s expired passport, a long walk through Dubai Airport, and a running dash for the train to Manchester, but we did manage to get here at last. We met up as a group Sunday night for our first get-together and a marvelous evening of Show and Tell, starring Suzi’s gorgeous collection of historical bodices and corsets and some added attractions brought in by special guest Cathy Hay of YourWardrobeUnlockd.com.

My laptop decided to crash on me the day I left, so I’m blogging from my iPad, which is going to keep posts short and sweet this trip, I’m afraid! I can’t align photos as nicely as I can from the laptop, but I’ll try to do photo highlights from each day’s fun the day after. Here are shots from our gathering last night!

20120910-171824.jpgOne group member examines an 1870s bodice up close.

20120910-171802.jpgCathy Hay arrived in a reproduction Ginger Rogers ensemble–too adorable!

20120910-171929.jpgThis is a ca. 1900 skirt Cathy picked up for a song at a vintage clothing shop. Look at that gorgeous Chantilly lace! (sorry this one’s a bit blurry–I’ll see if I can find a clearer one later on….)

20120910-174653.jpgThis set of stays was made by Jean Hunnisett for Ann Margaret to wear in a film. The fabric is original and from the 1780s!

20120910-172009.jpgInside of the stays.

20120910-171952.jpgSuzi talks about the significance of each piece in her collection. Everything has a story!

20120910-171751.jpgAll ears…in spite of jet lag!

Cathy even brought a part of her famous work-in-progress, the Peacock Dress!

Today we toured Quarry Bank Mill, which evokes images right out of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. I’ll do my best to post on that tomorrow!

September 2, 2006

What a wonderful anniversary surprise!

My incredible, gallant husband surprised me in June on our tenth anniversary by announcing he‘d be taking me to England this year! The last time I went I was sixteen and spent most of my time in Uppingham, a little village in central England. It was charming, and I did get to visit some castles and such, but I’ve always wanted to go back and see “Jane Austen’s England.” I can hardly believe we are really going! We’ll have the twins with us, so my dear friend Melissa is coming to help with the babies and enjoy all the glories of the English countryside. We are both Jane Austen fanatics, so this is going to be a double treat! We’ve even been sewing new Regency gowns to wear while we’re traipsing about.

Our plans include visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, having a picnic in St. James’s park with pen-pals, seeing Kensington Palace, and taking tea at Harrod’s with an English costumier. We’ll then travel into Hampshire to visit Jane Austen’s house at Chawton, which now contains the JA Museum. From there, it is a short dash to Winchester Cathedral, where Jane is buried. We plan to take some leisurely walks about the countryside if the weather is fine.

From there, we’ll head to Bath for the annual Jane Austen Festival. We’ll be able to see the places Jane visited when she lived in Bath, including the famous Crescent and all the delights of the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms, which now house the celebrated Costume Museum of Bath! The annual Festival includes a costumed promenade, which we will, unfortunately, miss. However, we’ll be able to do a walking tour of Bath with fellow Janeites, experience a real Georgian tea at the Pump Room, see the places mentioned in novels like Persuasion, and attend a harp concert.
Finally, we’ll head to Derbyshire to spend a couple of refreshing days visiting the Peaks and the great Chatsworth estate, which Jane visited herself. I am looking forward to seeing the amazing vistas, which have also been used in many Jane Austen film adaptations. Haddon Hall is close by, and if we have time to stop there, we will. This is the estate that has been used as Thornfield Hall in several “Jane Eyre” films, including the new one in production by BBC1. There’s so much to do in Derbyshire that we may overextend ourselves, but I’ll try to keep my enthusiasm reined in. ;-)

On our way back down to London, we’ll stop in at Chipping-Campden to visit Miss Melissa’s English cousins and see the pub once owned by her great-great-grandfather. It’s always neat to trace genealogy while you’re on a pleasure tour. I hope to track down some of my ancestors while we are in Winchester, which is where the Ethells came from when they migrated to the Colonies in 1746. Before that, they were Scottish (Athol), but I know for sure they were in Winchester prior to leaving for Virginia. I would be so excited to find record of them while there, but, again, I mustn’t let my ambitions outrun our ability to keep up with them on a week-long trip!

We so look forward to this incredible journey, and I hope to share lots of photos and fun insights as we travel!