Jane Austen's Chawton home wins £85,000 grant for 'urgent repairs'

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image captionJane Austen lived in the family home in the village of Chawton until her death in 1817

The former home of Jane Austen has been awarded £85,000 by a local authority for "urgent" repairs.

Hampshire County Council said its grant would "ensure the survival" of Jane Austen's House in Chawton, where the author lived for eight years.

The money will go towards fixing roof tiles, replacing leaking windows and stabilisation works, the authority said.

Museum director Lizzie Dunford said the grant was "fantastic news".

image captionThe building has slipping tiles and ageing timbers, its director said

She said: "The cottage is 16th Century in places and was last re-roofed in 1948.

"It has slipping tiles and the roof timbers are not in good condition. It's absolutely vital to get it fixed."

Ms Dunford said the charity which runs the museum had so far raised £145,000, including the council grant, towards the repairs.

Hampshire County Council said the cost of the "urgent" work was estimated to be £170,000.

image captionJane Austen's writing table is among the items held at the museum

Council leader Keith Mans told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "Tourism is among those areas that have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, so I'm delighted we can help the Jane Austen House Museum.

"This unique cultural asset for the county is one of the nation's most important literary heritage sites."

The museum has no regular grants and depends for its income on up to 57,000 visitors a year, the authority said.

The famed author completed all of her celebrated works - including Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility and Emma - sitting at a small walnut writing table, now on display in the museum.

The repair work is due to start in summer or early autumn.

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