Somerset

Jane Austen: 'At risk' centre sets £15k fundraising target

Jane Austen waxwork Image copyright Jane Austen Centre
Image caption The centre's Jane Austen waxwork has been "suitably attired"

The Jane Austen Centre in Bath says it is under threat of closure following months of no visitors during lockdown.

The small independent business normally attracts about 150,000 people a year but the number has "dropped to nil".

It has launched a crowdfunding campaign to try and raise £15,000 to "pay essential bills" and put in "necessary measures" needed for it to reopen

The centre said: "It is essential we reach our target so Jane Austen's connection to the city is maintained."

Austen lived in Bath between 1801 and 1806, and two of her novels - Northanger Abbey and Persuasion - are based in the city.

The centre, which opened more than 20 years ago, has warned that its annual 10-day Jane Austen Festival is also at risk.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The centre is trying to raise £15,000

Paul Crossey, the centre's director, said the attraction "relies solely" on the "150,000 visitors that come through our doors each year".

"Obviously, since lockdown, that number has dropped to nil," he said.

"Even when we do open again, possible travel bans and enhanced restrictions within the tourist industry in general will make the period following reopening tough."

The centre has so far raised nearly £5,000 of its £15,000 target.

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