Dress is far from plain for Jane in Bath
Hundreds of Jane Austen fans turned heads at the weekend as they walked through the streets of Bath dressed in Regency costume.
The walk, which began in Abbey Church Yard, was part of the city’s Jane Austen Festival.
The event, which is in its 11th year, runs until Saturday and attracts enthusiasts from all over the world, including the USA, Australia and Japan to take part in the ten-day celebration of the author’s work.
The promenade is the best-known part of the festival and as well as characters from the Regency novels, there were also people dressed as naval officers, musicians and soldiers.
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Among those taking part were Pete and Karen Evans from Wolverhampton, who brought along their two children Imogen, 11 and Pierce, who is five.
The pair have taken part in the walk for the last three years and were alerted to the festival - which is coordinated by the Jane Austen Centre in Gay Street - when they got married in the Guildhall in Bath in 2005.
Mrs Evans said: “It is fantastic and the costumes are amazing and we love dressing up and pretending to be the Austen people.”
She added: “Bath is our favourite city and when we were told about the walk we thought it sounded fun but didn’t think we’d ever do it but we love it.”
Drama teacher Hannah Bryant, 24, from Essex, was accompanied by her mum Ann, who had spent the last two weeks making their costumes.
Miss Bryant said: “I love Jane Austen and that her stories always end happily. Reality isn’t really like that, so it’s a nice fantasy.
“I also enjoy dressing up and I think that’s the drama teacher in me.”
Her mum added: “It was a bit of a drive to get here, but it’s been worth it.”
Susan Renner travelled from California to join in the celebration and brought her husband Richard.
Mrs Renner, who is a paralegal, said: “I have always dreamed of going to a Regency ball so we are doing all the events.
“We are going to go to the ball on Friday and we have been taking country dancing lessons.”
As part of the festival visitors could also enjoy a traditional country fair in the Guildhall, with stalls including haberdashers and milliners as well as those selling tea and cakes.
Daily walking tours showed the inspiration for Austen’s two Bath novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, and took visitors around the city that was her home at the end of the 18th century.
Other events include dance and costume workshops as well as the Jane Austen Festival Regency Ball in the Pump Room on Friday.
To find out more, go to www.janeausten.co.uk/jane-austen-festival