Thomas Hardy bedrooms open for first time at Max Gate, Dorchester

Thomas Hardy's study and bedroom
Image caption Thomas Hardy died in the room, which had been kept private because it was still lived in

The room where Thomas Hardy finished writing The Mayor of Casterbridge has opened to the public.

The study-turned-bedroom at Max Gate in Dorchester, where the author died, was kept private when the National Trust opened the house to the public in 2011.

Visitors can now see the room and a master bedroom alongside the six other rooms at the Dorset writer's home.

Image caption Thomas Hardy was born near Dorchester in 1840 and died at Max Gate in 1928

Mike Nixon, secretary of the Thomas Hardy Society, described the move as "absolutely brilliant news".

Hardy and his first wife Emma moved into Max Gate, which he designed, in 1885. He also lived there with his second wife Florence following Emma's death in 1912.

Casterbridge is thought to be the name Hardy gave to Dorchester.

He also wrote Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude The Obscure and hundreds of poems while living at Max Gate.

The house was bequeathed to the National Trust by Hardy's sister Kate.

All of Hardy's belongings were sold after his death in 1928, but a desk and other objects once owned by the writer feature in a recreation of one of his studies at the nearby Dorset County Museum.

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