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Welcome from Janet Aylmer









Extract from   

In the Footsteps of Jane Austen through Bath to Lyncombe and Widcombe:
A Walk through History

The Whitehall ferry was one of the few ways across the River Avon until the Pulteney Bridge had been built in the late 18th century.  At that time, the bridge was under repair. Between the bridge and the ferry, a mill on either side of a weir had obstructed boats wanting to go up or downstream. 

Another earlier ferry had taken passengers across the river using a rope to pull the boat.  The Ferry began operating to service the Spring Gardens pleasure garden on the east side of the Avon.  People were punted across the river by the ferryman. That was a quicker route than using St. Laurence Bridge to the south of the city.

We can imagine Jane and her companion Mrs Chamberlayne taking their seats in the small boat, and holding on firmly to the side as the boatman pressed on his pole to move them across the water, until they carefully stepped out onto dry land on the other side. 

Behind them lay almost all the built up area of Bath.  However gracious and elegant the new streets and squares, Jane must have been looking forward with keen anticipation to reaching the open country beyond the ferry and, to the south, the destination of their walk.