If you have a spare £7m, Netherfield Hall could be yours!
Yesterday I visited Belton House, another location used in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. It has been on my to ‘see list’ for a while as the house, and all its windows and chimneys, belong to Lady Catherine de Bourgh. It is just as impressive in real life as it appears on screen – do you recognise it?
Today marks a very special day for Jane Austen fans. On this day in 1813 the novel that brought us Mr Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and many more memorable characters, was published for the first time. It has arguably become the most successful and most well-loved of all Jane Austen’s novels, inspiring many television and film adaptations, and hundreds of spin-off stories and sequels.
It is my all time favourite story, and one I just can’t put down no matter how many times I have read it! To celebrate this special day, I have compiled a list of top 5’s all with a Pride and Prejudice theme. I hope you’ll share yours with me too.
Firstly, a belated Happy New Year! I’ve been away from blogging for a while so apologies to my followers (this is what happens when you work for a gift company at Christmas!) But I’m back now and very excited as later this month marks the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice!
From other blogs I’ve been reading, I’m not the only one who is set to celebrate on the 28th so I thought I’d try something a little different! I would love to hear from other Jane Austen fans about why you love this book and include your comments in a special tribute post on the 28th January: the day that Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813.
If you’ve ever wanted to life the life of a Regency lady but weren’t sure how, then this is most definitely the book for you.
Consult the Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England and you won’t put a foot wrong in any social occasion. Divided into short, easily digestible chapters, there is a how-to guide for practically any situation you stand to encounter; from choosing the right company, writing letters and planning a dinner party to how you might spend your leisure time, attending a ball and even carrying on a secret engagement, there are tips and hints aplenty so you can pass yourself off with a very respectable degree of credit.
Whilst in Derbyshire…visit the setting for Lambton!
Before going to the Peak District last week, I did some research on the locations used in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I wanted to visit as many as possible, even the ones that only appear in a couple of scenes, to satisfy my cravings for all things Jane Austen-related. It was very pleasing to discover that several of the locations are in close proximity, which no doubt helped with filming too, so on the day I visited the Ramshaw Rocks, I also visited Lambton, aka Longnor.
In the picture above, you can see the building that was used as the inn at Lambton, where Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle Gardiner stayed. This is where the servant announced to Elizabeth that Mr Darcy was waiting for her in the parlour 🙂
The ‘inn’, actually an art studio, is situated on Chapel Street but as everything else has remained the same, you can have a real Elizabeth Bennet moment if you feel that way inclined. I did!
This is the view past the ‘inn’, complete with tractor, taking you up to the church. Imagine Mr and Mrs Gardiner walking up here as Elizabeth reads that fateful letter from Jane.
Here’s where the carriage taking Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle back to Hertfordshire would have stopped:
I think these were the only scenes filmed here (please correct me if I’m wrong!) but to visit them felt special for me as Pride and Prejudice fan. I might have let a squeal of delight when I saw this street.
Like so many villages in the Peak District, Longnor is full of pretty, stone-built houses and cobbled streets that have that special untouched feel, and give the village its character. If it wasn’t for the builders working close by and the odd car engine, it would have felt like stepping back in time!
Longnor is situated a few miles south east of Buxton along the B5053 and not far at all from the Ramshaw Rocks so you can see all three places in the same day, which makes visiting this area very worthwhile.
I would definitely recommend all three as part of a day out whether you’re a Jane Austen fan or not!
Have you visited any film or television locations? Which was your favourite?
Walking in Elizabeth Bennet’s foosteps
I spent last week in the Peak District where I was lucky enough to see some of the locations used in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. It has been a dream to stand where Elizabeth, played by Jennifer Ehle, did for far too long and I couldn’t contain my excitement on seeing the Ramshaw Rocks! Those who have seen this adaptation or have walked the famous formation I’m sure will instantly recognise this particular one.
There was some debate between me and my family as to what the rock resembles – we settled for a grumpy man – but of course the main attraction for Pride and Prejudice fans is admiring the rock and views like Elizabeth did (and possibly pretending to be her!). The views are, as she describes them, ‘beautiful’.
This is what she would have seen to the right of the view above:
View to the left:
The view ahead (my favourite so there are two):
And the view behind of the path. You might remember seeing Mr and Mrs Gardiner walking along here:
The rocks are very easy to get to: they’re located about 6 miles south west of Buxton, famous for its spas and Pavilion Gardens which are well worth a visit, along the Roman Road, also known as the A53. You’ll see the formation from the road and then a narrow road to the right (if you’re coming from Buxton) which seems to cut through the last part of the formation. If you follow this, you will come to a lay-by at the base of the rocks where you can park and start your ascent!
It’s only a short distance up to the top with well-trodden footpaths to follow, although I wouldn’t attempt the walk without a pair of good walking boots or in particularly bad rain as it could be slippery. You can start a walk here to The Roaches, which I believe were used in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but we didn’t attempt this on the day.
I’ve included this information as I struggled to find any with a Google search so I hope it helps if you go.
Here’s some more inspiration if you need it!
And a final farewell. Can you spot it?
I also visited the setting for Lambton and the interior scenes of Pemberley, which I’ll be blogging about too.
Finding the right words can be difficult when worked up or incensed – emotion often takes over so you’re left either speechless, incoherent or just wanting to shout! Equally awkward can be situations where you need to say ‘no’ or express concern politely or curiosity gets the better of you – you want more information but don’t know how to get it without seeming nosey! Here’s where Jane Austen might be able to help.
When I reread Pride and Prejudice recently, it struck me just how tactful some of the characters are. Of course that shouldn’t be a surprise as the characters were ruled by the conventions of ‘polite’ society but their skill at ignoring critical remarks, laughing them off, countering or expressing a frank opinion without offending made me think I could learn a thing or too.
So here’s a Jane-Austen style guide for such tricky circumstances:
1. Don’t rise to it!
Sparks fly almost every time Lizzy comes into contact with Caroline Bingley. The latter is very helpful in pointing out all of Lizzy’s faults to Mr Darcy, just in case he was too distracted by her ‘fine eyes’ to notice, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind in her rival’s presence.
With only one exception I can think of (the Netherfield Ball when the two women discuss Mr Wickham), Lizzy just lets this wash over her or rejoins without showing much, if any, emotion. Her replies surprise Miss Bingley, who can’t say anything further without overstepping the mark. Job done.
To imitate Lizzy’s style:
- A brief reply is all that’s needed. In response to Miss Bingley’s veiled criticism of her talents, she simply says “I am not a great reader, and take pleasure in many things.” Simple and to-the-point. No need to get worked up. And now you can get back to your book feeling quite pleased with yourself.
- Find humour in the situation. Lizzy excels at this!
- Ignore an intended criticism. See 1st bullet point. Mr Darcy is also master of this in his conversations with Miss Bingley.
2. Take a leaf out of Jane’s book
She doesn’t think badly of anyone without proof and even then she avoids a falling out!
3. Politely refuse to dance
This might still work in the 21st century, or might be stretching it too far…
Lizzy has no intention of dancing with Mr Darcy at Lucas Lodge early on in the book. To escape, she simply says “Mr Darcy is all politeness” and then when pressed, walks off.
So step 1: deflect the question and step 2: walk away! Mr Darcy didn’t take offence to that so hopefully the man who asks you won’t either.
4. Persuade without forcing the point
Mrs Gardiner is a model of tactfulness. She also possesses the power of persuasion: see her warning to Lizzy about getting too involved with Mr Wickham.
5. Be a good Samaritan
Mr Darcy is perhaps the surprise entry here. He doesn’t like the way Caroline Bingley excludes Lizzy from their walk around Netherfield and says they should go into the avenue where the path would permit all four of the party to walk together.
6. Change the subject
Elizabeth does this successfully on many occasions when the conversation, usually started by her mother, makes everyone feel a little awkward.
7. If all else fails, be honest.
Say how you feel with authority but without raising your voice. Case and point, Mr Darcy.
When he’s had just about enough of Miss Bingley criticising Elizabeth, he counters with “it is now many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance”. It also works nicely as a compliment 😉
So there it is, Jane Austen’s unofficial guide to being tactful. Now to give it a try…
I’ll be doing a follow-up post on how to (or how not to) refuse a marriage proposal so do check back for it and see what you think.
This is something I’ve always been a bit embarrassed to admit to but really feel it’s time to get off my chest: my ever-expanding collection of Pride and Prejudice sequels and variations. To date I have 17, which not many people knew about until now! I’m not sure why I’ve kept this secret, or some of the books hidden, but guess it feels a bit unhealthy to have so many books all on the same subject. I’m worried what friends and family will think if they see so many novels with Mr Darcy in the title; although female friends may be slightly more understanding about that.
I’ve built up the collection over the past 5 years after watching an episode of the Weakest Link; strange connection I know but it was thanks to this show that I’ve been one very happy lady for the past few years 🙂 One of the questions asked was ‘Who wrote “Pemberley”, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice’ and my ears pricked up immediately. A sequel to Pride and Prejudice? I didn’t know such a book existed! So I got straight onto the computer, looked up the book on Amazon and found not just one but a whole host of Jane Austen tributes. I was staggered! I don’t know how many I ordered at the time but it was enough to keep my going for a good few months. Once I’d read those I bought another one, and then another, and yes another. 5 years later and I’m still reading them. Don’t think this obsession is going to end any time soon…
There was an interesting post on travelingwitht a few weeks ago that made me think I should at least try a different genre like T had. I tried with the Time Traveler’s Wife and managed the first five pages before getting fed up and putting it back on the bookshelf never to be opened again! I tried again with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; no luck there either. I might have started in the wrong places but it seems I just can’t be without Mr Darcy and Lizzy. My old English teacher would have something to say about that I’m sure.
There are lots of Jane Austen fans who enjoy reliving the story in different ways, and seeing it continued; I think it’s because it’s hard to let go of the endearing and loveable characters Jane created! There is something so captivating about all of them that Jane Austen fans like myself just can’t get enough. We want to know more, understand the characters better and see how they react in different situations which keeps this genre of sequels and variations alive. I think I’ve convinced myself to stick with it for now!
What are your literary tastes? Do you prefer one genre over any other or do you read around?
If you have any summer reading recommendations, Pride and Prejudice-related or not, I’d love to hear them!
Thanks for reading 🙂 Lady J