TO MARK the upcoming production of Pride and Prejudice (sort of) at Nuffield Southampton Theatres City, and to celebrate Southampton's links with author Jane Austen, SeeSouthampton are running a free event this weekend.

Taking place this Sunday, the day includes talks on Jane Austen from local experts and historians, a crafts and produce fayre, fun photos with props, and free activities for children.

From the autumn of 1806 until the spring of 1809 Jane Austen made her home in Southampton with her mother and sister, her brother, Frank, and his new wife, Mary, and Martha Lloyd, who was recently homeless following her mother’s death.

Jane already knew Southampton, having been at school, albeit briefly, in the town, and at 18 she danced there at a public ball.

One historian wrote: “That she greatly preferred it to Bath, even to Canterbury, is evident, and not hard to explain.

“It was her home county, and on the coast, two powerful recommendations.

“Southampton’s pretensions to fashion were slight compared with Bath’s and its air agreed with her better.’’ The Austens rented a house in Castle Square from the Marquis of Landsdowne, which had a garden bounded on one side by the old walls as well as a view across to the New Forest.

Nearby was the Marquis’s mock Gothic castle, described by Jane’s nephew as “a fantastic edifice’’.

Not far away was a pump room, assembly rooms, several baths, and a theatre, which the author only visited once.

Jane rarely joined in the evening amusements and though she evidently liked the place, Southampton does not seem to have given her any inspiration as she wrote no fiction during her stay.

Jane was knowledgeable of many places outside Hampshire, but she was essentially a county girl, born in Steventon, living in Chawton, and dying in Winchester where she lies within the cathedral.

The event takes place Sunday February 2, 2020, beginning at 2pm at NST City. For more information on the event visit .