Save Jane’s Roof

These tiles have been protecting Jane Austen's House from the elements for over 70 years. Now the entire roof needs major repairs to keep the building watertight and secure. We need your help now to save the roof and this special building.

The roof of Jane Austen’s House was last refurbished in 1948, before the house was opened to the public. Now, over 70 years on, and over a million visitors later, major repairs are required to restore and secure it for the future, ensuring the watertightness of the building and preserving the collections. Thanks to supporters from across the globe as well as closer to home, we have now been able to start work on restoring this special place.

About the project

We expect that it will take around six months to fully restore the main roof of Jane Austen’s House. Over this time the house will be covered with a temporary roof and scaffolding which will protect the building as every single tile is removed. These tiles will be checked and sorted; there will be some that are in a good enough condition to go back on the roof, but given their age, the vast majority will need to be replaced. All of the battens, to which the tiles are attached will be replaced, as will the felt which lines the roof. We will also improve insulation where we can, increasing our environmental sustainability. The chimneys, dormer windows, guttering and downpipes will also be repaired and conserved as part of the project. There is a lot of work to do!

The Structure Revealed

One of the very exciting things about this project is that it will give us the chance to explore the underlying structure of the building and find out more about the ways that this very old house was built, adapted and maintained over the 500 years of its history. Did you know that the building was already 300 years old when Jane, Cassandra, Mrs Austen and Martha Lloyd moved in?

Work to restore the roof at Jane Austen's House

The chimney and timbers above the Kitchen at Jane Austen’s House

Find out more about the architectural history of the house, in our Austen Wednesday special

Our Funders

We are incredibly grateful and fortunate to have been supported in this project by a wide range of donors.

We would like to thank Historic England and the Historic Houses Foundation for a grant of £85,597, through the second round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund.

Hampshire County Council have also generously supported the restoration of our roof with an £85,000 grant.

These two funding bodies join over 3000 people from across the world who have contributed to our Save Jane’s Roof sponsor a tile campaign (which you can still take part in) to help us move towards achieving the full level of funding needed to complete this work.

The old roof tiles being sorted on the roof at Jane Austen’s House

Our partners

We’re pleased to be working with a talented and dedicated group of contractors to deliver the project.

Our Architect: Pritchard Architecture

Giles and his team are steering the project through the many RIBA stages and ensuring that work progresses smoothly.

You can find out more about the practice here: https://www.pritchardarchitecture.co.uk/about

Our Lead Contractor: Clarke Roofing (Southern) Ltd

Clarke Roofing are working with skill and dedication, taking great care of our roof and site.

https://clarke-roofing.co.uk/

 

One of a breeding pair of bats found in the roof about the Kitchen

Our bats

Looking after our community of bats has been at the centre of this project. We have worked with ecologists to ensure that the restoration work is determined by their timetable, rather than ours.

This little chap was one of a breeding pair found on the first day of roof works. It has now been rehomed into special bat boxes, housed in the descendants of Jane’s own oak tree.

Preparatory work on the kitchen wing has ensured that there will be a bat roost ready for any more of our flying friends found throughout the rest of the project.

How can I help?

By sponsoring a tile, either for yourself or a loved one, you are becoming part of the story of Jane Austen’s House.

Your sponsorship will be recorded in the Roof Donations Register which will be permanently held in the Museum’s archives, alongside Jane’s own precious works and belongings.

Thank you for being a part of the story.

How to donate

If possible, please donate via the JustGiving portal. However, if you wish to send a cheque, please make the cheque payable to ‘Jane Austen’s House Museum’ and write ‘Roof Appeal’ and the details of who you would like to sponsor a tile for on the reverse. If you are a UK taxpayer, please consider completing and sending a Gift Aid form (downloadable here) along with your cheque.

Please send cheques to: Jane Austen’s House, Winchester Road, Chawton, Hampshire, GU34 1SD