Austens in Bermuda and Nova Scotia

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Later this month, Sheila Johnson Kindred and I are giving a joint lecture for the Jane Austen Society, UK conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia on “Charles and Francis Austen: Jane Austen’s Sailor Brothers on the Royal Navy’s North American Station,” so I’ve put together a collection of photos of Austen-related sites in Bermuda and Nova Scotia. Jane’s younger brother, Captain Charles Austen, served on the North American Station between 1805 and 1811, and one of her older brothers, Vice Admiral Sir Francis Austen, was Commander-in-Chief between 1845 and 1848, long after Jane’s death in 1817.

Sheila and I are writing a walking tour that highlights places the Austen brothers and their families saw or visited during their time in Halifax, and I’ll post more details about that next month. In the meantime, I want to share some of the photos with you. I took all the photos of places in Halifax and my sister-in-law Laura Baxter took the photos of places in Bermuda.

Sheila recently completed a biography of Charles Austen’s Bermuda born wife Fanny Palmer Austen. Her book Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen will be published in October by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Jane Austen's Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen

Sheila and I have collaborated on many Austen-related projects over the years (including an essay called “Among the Proto-Janeites: Reading Mansfield Park for Consolation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1815,” which was published in Persuasions On-Line after we presented it at the 2014 JASNA AGM in Montreal), and I am thrilled to announce the news about her book. I know it will be essential reading for anyone interested in Jane Austen, as Sheila traces through Fanny’s life story the relationship she built with Jane and the influence she may have had on Jane Austen’s fiction, especially the creation of the female naval characters in Persuasion.

Belcher’s Marsh Park, Halifax, NS

Belcher’s Marsh Park in Halifax, NS. A photo from our co-authored paper “Among the Proto-Janeites.” This land was part of the Birch Cove estate that Sir John and Lady Sherbrooke leased from Halifax merchant Andrew Belcher in 1811.

I’ll include details about Sheila’s articles on the Austens at the end of this blog post, for anyone who wants to consult back issues of Persuasions while we wait for October to read Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister. Congratulations on your book, Sheila! I’m looking forward to conversations about the Austens in Bermuda and Nova Scotia at the conference, and I can’t wait to see the book in print.

First, a few photos from St. Georges, Bermuda, where Fanny Palmer was born, and where she and Charles Austen were married in St. Peter’s Church in 1807:

St. Peter's Church, St. Georges, Bermuda

Bermuda

Bermuda sand and sea glass

Buildings Bay, Bermuda

Photos of Halifax, Nova Scotia:

Halifax Town Clock

The Halifax Town Clock on Citadel Hill, given to the city by Edward, Duke of Kent

Dockyard Clock, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dockyard Clock, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Dockyard Clock, now located on the Halifax waterfront

St. Paul’s Church, Halifax, where Charles and Fanny Austen’s daughter Cassy was baptized in 1809:

St. Paul's Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia

I wrote a history of the church, St. Paul’s in the Grand Parade, for the 250th anniversary in 1999.St. Paul's in the Grand Parade, by Sarah Baxter Emsley

Government House, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Government House, Halifax, where Charles and Fanny Austen danced at a ball in 1810

Admiralty House, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Admiralty House, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Admiralty House, where Francis Austen and his family stayed when they were in Halifax in the 1840s

McNabs Island

Looking across to McNabs Island, in the Halifax Harbour, from Point Pleasant Park

Georges Island, Halifax Harbour

Georges Island, Halifax Harbour

Georges Island, and McNabs Island in the distance

Georges Island, and McNabs Island in the distance

For further reading

There’s more information about the Austen family’s Nova Scotia connection in Jane Austen and the North Atlantic, a collection of essays I edited for the Jane Austen Society, UK after the 2005 conference here in Halifax. The book includes the lectures Peter W. Graham, Brian Southam, Sheila Johnson Kindred, and I presented at the conference.

Jane Austen and the North Atlantic

Articles by Sheila Johnson Kindred:

“Charles Austen: Prize Chaser and Prize Taker on the North American Station 1805-1808” in Persuasions 26 (2004): 188-94.

“Charles Austen’s Capture of the French Privateer La Jeune Estelle.” Jane Austen Society Annual Report (2006): 50-53.

“Two Brothers, One City: Charles and Francis Austen in Halifax, Canada” in Jane Austen and the North Atlantic, ed. Sarah Emsley. Chawton, Hampshire: Jane Austen Society, 2006. 9-21.

“Jane Austen’s Naval Brother Charles on the North American Station” in the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Journal 10 (2007): 25-46.

“The Influence of Naval Captain Charles Austen’s North American Experiences on Persuasion and Mansfield Park” in Persuasions 31 (2009): 115-29.

Coming this fall! Sheila Johnson Kindred’s book about Jane Austen’s sister-in-law Fanny Palmer Austen:

Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen. Montreal, Quebec: McGill-Queen’s University Press, forthcoming October 2017.

Admiralty House, Halifax, Nova Scotia