The photograph above shows the drawing-room in the 1950s and features Mr Austen's Bureau, the Clementi Piano, the chaise longue (which was found in the attic) and a portrait of two of Francis Austen's children, Mary-Jane and George. The mirror above the bureau is one that was owned by the Austen family and is currently in need of conservation. The other frame contains fragments of the wallpaper which was discovered when shelving was removed from the area of the window at the front of the house that was blocked off in 1809. If you look closely it is possible to see that the floor has neither floorboards nor carpet. Although the Austens would have had rugs, this room had a flagstone floor and although the ladies would have spent their evenings in this room it certainly was not a grand room. Floorboards were not installed until 1983.
The House first opened as a Museum in 1949; at the time some tenants were still living in parts of the house. The Museum has grown and been developed over the years. It was only in 2009 that a separate entrance to the Museum was created, rather than visitors paying on arrival in the drawing-room, and we were able for the first time to open the kitchen to the public, bringing the majority of the House into the visitor experience. (We do still have a few corners where we have tucked offices away, but generally our visitors are able to see the whole house). Read more: jane-austens-house-museum