The house in Sloane Street is still there, although at first glance it is unrecognisable as the one where Jane stayed. In 1897 another floor was added and the whole house refaced, but embedded inside is the original house, built in 1780. It is even possible to see the outer bay of the octagonal room where Eliza held a party on 25 April 1811 – all you need to do is walk a little way down Hans Street and look back at the rear of the house. In the photograph the house is covered in scaffolding and undergoing yet more changes.
There is nothing Jane would have recognised in the scene today. Sloane Street was rebuilt, or, in many cases, refaced, in the late 19th century and the inns have all either disappeared or have been replaced by Victorian buildings on the same sites. janeaustenslondon
When Jane Austen visited her brother Henry in 1811, he lived in Sloane Street (today behind Harrods in Knightsbridge). At the time, the street was a wide thoroughfare that connected Knightsbridge with the west part of Pimlico and the east end of Chelsea. The area was still quite rural, for there was no development at the east side of Sloane Street before 1790. In the late 18th century, the approach to London from this side was still regarded as a dangerous, for the area was rural and dimly lit. Chelsea, in fact, had just recently begun to be engulfed by a burgeoning London, but during Jane Austen’s day, the area was still quite bucolic and rural, as these images attest.
By the time Henry Austen moved to Sloane Street the neighborhood had changed enough for Jane to experience pleasant society, although ten years after Jane’s death, Greenwood’s Map (1827) still showed many empty lots and gardens in the vicinity. (See map above.)
While living in Sloane Street, Henry was a successful man:
Henry and two associates had founded a banking institution in London sometime between 1804 and 1806. Austen, Maunde and Tilson of Covent Garden flourished and enabled Henry and Eliza to move from Brompton (where Jane Austen had found the quarters cramped during a visit in 1808) to a more fashionable address and larger house at 64 Sloane Street. Jane’s visits here in 1811 and 1813 were happy events, filled with parties, theatre-going, and the business of publishing Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. – Henry Austen: Jane Austen’s “Perpetual Sunshine” by J. David Grey