No evidence has come to light that Jane Austen ever visited Germany, although her brother Edward visited is known to have made a trip to a silver mine at Freiberg. However, when Councillor Vivian Branson paid a recent visit to our twin town Heusenstamm it was evident that the famous author is well-known and popular in Germany.
Vivian was invited by the Heusenstamm Freundschaftskreis (Friendship Circle) to give a talk on Jane Austen, and on October 26, dressed in period costume and aided by slides and hand-outs, she brought to life the buildings and places in and around Tonbridge which have a connection with the Jane Austen and her family.
Vivian enthralled her audience. The talk was so popular with the locals that two teenage girls cycled from the neighbouring town of Offenbach to learn about the famous english author. Such is the interest a Jane Austen tea is planned next month in Offenbach.
At the end of the evening Vivian was presented with a book on Heusenstamm, and as this was her first visit she was also given a guided tour of the town.
A very generous donation raised at the talk will be used by the Jane Austen Fund in Tonbridge for a special project.
‘I have had a simply marvellous time', said Vivian, and so did everybody in the audience who now know not only more about our wonderful author, but also that she had such strong links with Tonbridge.