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Book Review: The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen

the particular charm of Miss Jane AustenThe Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright  and Cass Grafton A review by Laura Boyle When I was asked to review The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, I had no idea what the story was about, the cover giving only the vaguest idea that it might have something to do with the lovely topaz necklaces that were a gift to Jane and her sister from their seafaring brother Charles. Was it Jane’s personal charm, or this actual, physical charm that the story was about? The answer was to be a little of both. With vivid detail, authors Ada Bright and Cass Grafton set their stage: the opening of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. In a tale of art imitates life, one might suspect, two longtime internet friends are about to meet for the first time in person and partake of the delights Bath has to offer. The city, sights and excitement of the festival come to life in a way that must make all of us who have never been long for a taste of that happiness which comes when “good people get together”. Those who have had a chance to enjoy the festival must revisit these scenes of past pleasure once again with delight. While seemingly straightforward enough, two young ladies ready for love, two single men in want of wives, the story takes a dramatic twist part way through the novel. It appears (as the reader has already suspected) that Rose Wallace’s reclusive (more…)
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Masked Ball Preparation

Masked BallJane Austen Festival Masked Ball Here’s a short film showing the dance preparations for the Jane Austen Festival Masked Ball 2015. The Ball was held in the Pump Room and Roman Baths. See the film HERE The first Jane Austen Festival in Bath was held in September 2001 over the course of a weekend with events taking place at the Jane Austen Centre in Gay Street. The first Promenade set out from the Jane Austen Centre in 2004 and had 30 people including most of the staff taking part. In 2009 the promenade had over 450, all in costume with drummers, dancers, military and naval men. All ages, male and female had the most wonderful time in fantastic weather. Outstanding memories of previous festivals for us are the Film Premiere in Bath of the ‘Bollywood’ film Bride & Prejudice, the wonderful readings given by Ben Whitrow (the best ever Mr Bennet) partnered by Amanda Root (Anne Elliot) and then Joanna David (Mrs Gardiner). Followed by Adrian Lukis (Mr Wickham) and Caroline Langrishe (Lovejoy) celebrating the bicentenary of Pride & Prejudice with wonderful theatrical readings in the Assembly Rooms, the Holburne Museum and the Old Theatre Royal. Superb food cooked and presented by Fiona Ravenscroft (A South West Cook of the Year) and eaten by us! 2008′s fantastic theatrical production by the Dorset Corset Theatre Company of Northanger Abbey. Plus of course the History Wardrobe with their ‘Undressing Mr Darcy’ always a hit!   (more…)
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Jane Austen Festival 2015 – success

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Masked Ball

The Jane Austen Festival 2015

Wow, what a great Festival we’ve had this year. 10 days and over 60 events plus record attendance. I think everyone agrees it was the best ever.

jane austen promenade
Stopping the traffic on the Promenade

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2015 Jane Austen Festival in Bath

Festival Promenaders taking a break. The Jane Austen Festival starts on the 12th of September and looks like it will be the biggest and best ever. Jackie Herring, Jane Austen Festival Director is happy with the arrangements and ticket sales. ‘Lots of events have already sold out but there are still a few tickets left. If you want to see something spectacular turn up on to the Regency Promenade on Saturday. Watch 600 spectacular promenaders in their Regency finery as they take to the streets of Bath.’ The event has been covered by The Bath Chronicle. Take a look at their article here More Promenade information; Each year the Jane Austen Festival officially opens with our world famous Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. The Promenade is a parade through the streets of this beautiful city and over 500 people all in 18th Century costume take part, making it a record breaking event. In 2014 the Jane Austen Festival achieved the Guinness World Record TM for ‘The largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costumes at 550′ All sorts of people take part from the very young to the young at heart plus red coats, dancers and our official town crier. The Promenade stops the traffic in Gay Street, The Circus, George Street, Milsom Street and Orange Grove, making it difficult for drivers from 11am until 12.30pm on Saturday 12th September 2015. ALL participants wear costume to take part in the Promenade and also purchase a ticket, the cost is £10 per adult, (more…)
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Jane Austen Centre Gets Honoured!

Visit England Welcome Award for The Jane Austen Centre The hard-working staff at the Jane Austen Centre were really pleased to find out that they had been recognised for their contribution to tourism in the area. The Jane Austen Centre is honoured to receive the VisitEngland Welcome accolade which has been awarded as part of VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme. “I know that all our staff work hard to ensure they give the very best care and attention to our visitors, and it is fantastic that they have been recognised for their outstanding, warm and friendly customer service.” Said Paul Crossey, General Manager. The Jane Austen Centre is Bath’s only Accolade winner in 2015. These accolades are allocated through a scoring system based on an annual assessment by VisitEngland. They include the Welcome accolade, Hidden Gem, Best Told Story, Quality Food & Drink and the Gold accolade for top-scoring attractions. So, what are you waiting for? Come to Bath and say hello! The permanent Exhibition at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath was originally created with the guidance of local members of the Jane Austen Society and authorities on Jane Austen, Louise Ross and Maggie Lane. The Exhibition aims to be not only informative but exciting and illuminating. With knowledgeable staff, a lovely period atmosphere, exclusive film starring Adrian Lukis, costume, dressing up, contemporary exhibits, maps and books. We now have a beautiful waxwork of Jane Austen created by experts using forensic evidence. All in all the Centre is the perfect starting (more…)
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Guinness World Record

We Did It. Jane Austen Guinness World Record regained 550 inside Bath’s Assembly Rooms Actor Adrian Lukis (BBC’s Mr Wickham) and some of his friends The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, which began this weekend, has reclaimed the title of ‘Largest Gathering of People Dressed in Regency Costumes’. The Guinness World Record was originally set in 2009 by the festival itself, which is held each September and recognised as the biggest of its kind in the world, when 409 people gathered in the famous Assembly Rooms in the city. This July, however, that number was surpassed by 491 American Austen festival-goers in Greater Louisville, as part of an event organised by the Jane Austen Society of North America. Although this figure had yet to be officially recognised by Guinness, it was the one the UK Jane Austen Festival had set itself to beat. On Saturday (13 Sept), with 550 men, women and children, all suitably attired in Regency costumes, they did so. Adrian Lukis, who played George Wickham in the BBC’s celebrated 1995 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, opened proceedings. Adrian was guest of honour, having become the festival’s patron earlier in the year. The announcement of the new record was made by MC John White. The record attempt, which took place once again in the famous Assembly Rooms, is just one of the highlights of what organisers are calling the biggest festival yet in the event’s fourteen year history. After leaving the Assembly Rooms, participants then took part in (more…)
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The Dandy Chargers

The Dandy Chargers

dandy chargers

In 1817 Baron Karl von Drais created the Lauf-maschine (running machine) / Draisienne / Mechanical Horse, the first human powered land vehicle to mount a serious bid for public acceptance. Satirically named the Dandy Charger.
Then in 1818 Dennis Johnson, a coachmaker, of London developed an improved model that he called the Pedestrian Curricle / Hobby Horse / Velocipede / Dandy Horse / Accelerator / Swift Walker. Both of these contraptions were wooden, with two wheels that were pushed along with the feet. The activity of riding was not confined just to gentlemen as a model for the ladies was also said to be available.
The Dandy Chargers at the Jane Austen Festival.
This group made their first appearance at the Jane Austen Festival in 2009, the year of the world record ‘Regency Dress’ bid. They made quite a stir with their brightly coloured vehicles and costumes. They were a hit with the crowd and put on a demonstration ride as part of the Grand Promenade around the streets of Bath.

Take a look at this lovely little video of part of the ride of the Dandy Chargers during the Festival

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Adrian Lukis Interview

Adrian Lukis

Elle Interviews Adrian Lukis

On a lovely sunny day, we were making the new Jane Austen Centre film with Adrian when during a break we took the opportunity to grab a few minutes to interview the ex Mr. Wickham.
You will see for yourself that Adrian is such a charming gentleman.

“I love playing cads. They’re more interesting and so many of them seem to have a special kind of power and aura about them.”
Adrian Lukis ought to know. With his dark good looks and easy charm, he has often been cast in the role of attractive rogue or upper-class bounder. “He has charm in spades,” wrote Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph in a 2000 review of Lukis’s performance of Beach Wedding at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.

 

Mr Wickham

Adrian Lukis, born in 28th March 1957 in Birmingham, is an actor who has appeared regularly in British television drama since the late 1980s. He trained at Drama Studio London. His most recent notable appearances have been as Sergeant Douglas ‘Doug’ Wright in the Police drama series The Bill, and as Marc Thompson in the BBC legal drama Judge John Deed.

He was a regular, playing Dr David Shearer, in Peak Practice between 1997-99. He also played Mr. George Wickham in the BBC’s 1995 adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Adrian had appeared in the ITV1 one-off drama Back Home and in the BBC rural drama series Down to Earth.
He had previously appeared in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (as Bennett in The Creeping Man), Maigret, Miss Marple and Prime Suspect. Adrian Lukis played Simon Avery in Silent Witness Series 15 Episode 2, Death Has No Dominion.

He is currently appearing as Carter in Bull at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Lukis is descended from the Channel Islands archaeologist Frederick Lukis.

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