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Published
08 August 2017

Guess who came to tea?

​What a lot of fun we had on Tuesday at lunchtime in the Research Centre when we held our Regency High Tea in honour of Jane Austen. 

As Mr Parkin put it, dressed so dashingly in velvet waistcoat and silk cravat, "I would rather think of today not as a celebration of 200 years since the death of Jane Austen but of 241 years since her birth as she is still alive to me."  Well said sir.

As we delicately scoffed cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and cream we listened to Miss Austen's immortal prose so beautifully read by Fan No.1 Mr Parkin and Fan No.2 Mr McMurdo. Sipping our (very authentic) Regency tea much talk ensued of our favourite books – "She only wrote two good ones…" you might incite pistols at dawn with that one Mr Parkin!

We were then ready for a few dainty, ladylike, quite violent parlour games including Battledore (a precursor of badminton), Spillikins (Pick up Sticks), Skittles, Bilbocatch (catch the ball on a string in a cup) and, our very favourite, the Game of Graces where beribboned hoops had to be caught on two long sticks as they were hurled across the drawing room Research Centre.

There were a few roses on a few cheeks as we departed for Period 5 to the unforgettable theme music of Pride and Prejudice (transporting some of us back to cosy 90s nights-in with the telly –​ the lake scene, Mr Darcy, Lizzie, oh be still my beating…)

As always, thanks must go to our dedicated library team Ms Mahon, Mrs Cameron and Mrs Gibbes who never fail to come up with another reason to pick up a good book. And a special thank you to Sarah Myatt (Yr7) who made the most gorgeous Jane Austen cookies!"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! 

How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! - When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library." Pride and PrejudiceWe couldn't have said it better ourselves Miss Austen, thank you.

Ms Nicky Schey
Head of Research Centre