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Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Family on HMS Namur

7 Jun 2018 - 7 Jun 2018

Talk by Sheila Johnson Kindred


On the 7th June, join Sheila Johnson Kindred, acclaimed author of Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen, in a FREE talk at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Speaking on the theme of “Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Family at Home on HMS Namur,” Sheila Johnson Kindred will investigate naval life as experienced by Fanny Austen, sister-in-law to Jane Austen and wife of Charles Austen, who was captain of HMS Namur from 1812-14.

HMS Namur was a unique archaeological find at the Historic Dockyard Chatham in 1995, and has since become known as the ‘ship beneath the floor’ with over 10% of the frame of this 74 gun ship being discovered beneath five layers of floor at the Wheelwright’s Shop. Today visitors can descend to the Namur’s final resting place, where the timbers are preserved, and find out what the archaeologist have discovered from them, and also explore their importance to the Age of Sail story at Chatham alongside the moving stories of those who served on board.

Fanny Austen’s story, enhanced by her informative letters written while on board the Namur, expands our limited knowledge of women’s naval roles and experiences during the Napoleonic Wars. Additionally, Sheila Johnson Kindred will explore how much Fanny Austen was a source and inspiration for Jane Austen’s literary invention, especially for the female characters in her naval novel Persuasion.

“…an exciting new portrait of a relatively unsung heroine, Kindred successfully weaves together factual material from a range of sources, revealing the rigours and rewards of Charles Austen’s experiences as a naval officer combined with his wife’s fears for his survival, pride in his achievements, and constant anxiety regarding finance and family status. This is a compelling approach to Fanny Austen’s life and the first extensive study to focus on a man’s naval career from a woman’s perspective.” Hazel Jones, author of Jane Austen and Marriage.

Event Details

What you need to know....


The talk will be held at the Mess Deck restaurant next to our main visitor entrance.


The talk will begin at 7pm and is due to finish at approximately 8:30pm.


This is a FREE event but spaces are limited so please book your place with with to secure your seat.

Tickets to this event are free but limited - please register your place.

What's On

What's on