If you’ve been to visit us at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, you’ve probably met our famous Mr Bennet, a.k.a Martin. He’s our senior meeter and greeter, and is the most-photographed man in England. He’s been with us for over ten years, and now he’s been nominated for an award.
The national Tourism Superstar Awards 2018 are down to their final top ten finalists, and Martin is one of them. The awards were set up by VisitEngland and Mirror Travel, and the organisers behind the award explained that they’re:
looking for people who far exceed the call of duty to ensure visitors have an amazing experience, whether it’s on a day trip or a holiday.
Martin, they added, is a prime example.
Martin has worked in tourism all his life – at the Pump Rooms in Bath and for the past 11 years at the Jane Austen Centre. He does charitable work, is Father Christmas, teaches dancing and is a keen re-enactor. Online there are lots of images of Martin posing with visitors.
It’s free to vote for your Tourism Superstar (not only that, but by voting you enter into a draw to win an English staycation), and the vote is open until midnight on March the 20th. The winner will be announced at the end of English Tourism Week on March the 24th.
We would be so grateful if you could spare a moment to visit the dedicated page on the Mirror’s website and vote for Martin. He’s a real gentleman and without a doubt a superstar in our minds. If we could all work together to help him win this award it would mean so much to all of us.
Our Mr Bennet, who is almost synonymous with the Jane Austen Centre as he stands at the Centre entrance in all weathers to greet our visitors with warmth and charm, has been featured in the Bath Chronicle this week.
His article is the first of the Chronicle’s new series ‘Meet the’…, which will be taking a closer look at the personalities who make Bath such an incredible place.
“He’s a great addition to the Jane Austen Centre, everyone knows him and greets him and he knows every street, square and alleyway in Bath.
His local knowledge is unparalleled, he sees everything from his perch on the steps outside the Jane Austen Centre, he even reports misdeeds and fights to the police or council, he misses nothing.”
Some things you might already know about Mr Bennet:
He makes his own period clothes having worked for a gentleman’s outfitter and costume hire company.
“I bought myself a little sewing machine and I do all the research as to what men would have worn during Jane Austen’s time.”
…others might be more surprising…
When Martin’s not working he’s a rock ‘n roll fan and dresses as a Teddy Boy or Elvis and goes to gigs.
He also loves motorbikes and dresses head to toe in leather when out on his beloved Honda 750.
You can read the full interview with our Mr Bennet here.
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”
Full of wit, humour and lackadaisical nature, Mr Bennet has to be one the most memorable Austen characters of all time. This week I have been working primarily with Bob (our very own Mr Bennet!) on the last scene between Lizzie and her father. This scene is pretty much the conclusion of the story and moreover it emphasises the close relationship between Mr Bennet and his, lets be honest, favourite daughter. We blocked the scene several times before adding the smaller, yet significant, details to the section.
With only 5 weeks to go, rehearsals are rapidly progressing. We have successfully run Act 1 and Act 2, with the majority of it being off script. Cate, our costume fairy godmother, has been busily making adjustments to our wonderful regency dresses. Adela and Heather continue to direct, produce and choreograph whilst keeping us all in line (and occasionally leading a huge game of musical chairs to wake us all up). As for me, I have been watching Jennifer Ehle, Keira Knightley and re-reading parts of the novel repeatedly to become very well acquainted with Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
Until next time, I proudly present Mr Bennet…
What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Mr Bennet With Us For Ten Years!!!
Our Mr Bennet (A.K.A. Martin, our meeter-greeter who welcomes all our visitors to the Jane Austen Centre) has been with us for ten years! So to celebrate we arranged a little surprise for him…
The Telegraph recently published their top ten literary tours that literature lovers ought to take this year. Happily, a tour of Jane Austen’s England was on the list…but only at number five! Even though this year is Jane Austen 200 and events are taking place all over the country to celebrate!
So who beat her in the top ten?