What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Wentworth Woodhouse to be Restored Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond has come under fire recently after he announced in his autumn statement that he is going to give £7.6m of the budget towards repairing a huge Grade I-listed building called Wentworth Woodhouse. He claims that he will be saving a stately home that inspired Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but these claims have been rubbished by the Jane Austen Society. Hammond told MPs that the grand house in Rotherham: “is said to be the inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.” Chatsworth House in Derbyshire has a similar claim and is one house which there is evidence of Jane Austen visiting (two years before Pride and Prejudice was published, though after she wrote what is thought to be the first draft in the form of First Impressions). In a statement to the Guardian, the Jane Austen Society said there is no evidence Austen ever went to the Wentworth Woodhouse, or that Fitzwilliam Darcy could have afforded to live there. It is Europe’s largest private home, sits on 82 acres of land and has over 350 rooms. It took 25 years to build in the 1700s and at one time employed 1,000 staff, including a bear keeper and a “state bed maker”! It would have been costly to own and run indeed! It is thought that once restored over the course of the next fifteen years, and with a total cost
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