Perfect name to match mansion's history

ONE is among the world's greatest literary names - the other has the perfect name for her new job.Jayne Austin's name may be spelt differently to the great author Jane Austen but having taken up the post with the Colchester and Ipswich museum society her life is starting to mirror that of the famous writer.

ONE is among the world's greatest literary names - the other has the perfect name for her new job.

Jayne Austin's name may be spelt differently to the great author Jane Austen but having taken up the post with the Colchester and Ipswich museum society her life is starting to mirror that of the famous writer.

Mrs Austin, 33, who was born in Ipswich and went to Chantry High School, started her museum career working as a volunteer at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

Now she has taken up the post which will see her take charge of collections at museums in the region including Ipswich museum and the stately Christchurch Mansion, where she was married in 2001.

She said: “There are some amazing items in the collections in Ipswich and Colchester.

“There are some fabulous works of art by Constable and Gainsborough in the Ipswich museums, and there are hugely significant archaeology artefacts in Colchester Castle.

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“The best part of my job is getting to go 'behind the barrier' - I get to see all of the collections, not just the items that are on display.

“Because of the amount of space available only a small amount of the total artefacts that we have can be shown at one time.

“The stores really are like an 'Aladdin's cave' for anyone interested in history.

“Having been brought up here and having a real passion for the history of the town, it is such a privilege to be involved with its museums.”

While volunteering, Mrs Austin was taken on full-time as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of East Anglian Life, before going on to work for Suffolk County Council as a museum support officer.

She then took the post of heritage information manager at the Suffolk Records Office, working in its branches at Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds.

In 2001 she was married and found herself with the same name as a very famous writer.

She said: “Having a famous name was fun at first - it was an ice-breaker and good for getting people talking.

“Then it got a bit annoying but by now I am used to people commenting on it.”

Ipswich Museum is currently hosting an exhibition of items connected to the slave trade, focusing on the work of Suffolk abolitionist Thomas Clarkson.

The other Jane Austen

Jane Austen was a vicar's daughter born in Steventon, Hampshire in 1775 who went on to write some of the best-loved novels of all time.

Her novels included Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Emma and she is often considered as one of the first important female novelists in the English language.

Her work is familiar to millions today as it is frequently studied in schools and has been adapted many times for television and film.

In July 1817 she died of what is now thought to have been Addison's disease, although the condition was not named at the time.

The house at Chawton in Hampshire where she spent the last eight years of her life is now a museum.

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