It’s 200 years since the death of Jane Austen, the author who created such wonderful characters as Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, the Dashwood sisters, Fanny Price, Emma Woodhouse ... the list just goes on and on. So this week we thought we’d do something different by taking a look at what life was like for women at that time.

Two hundred years sounds like a very long time ago but it really isn’t. I well remember my grand-aunt Essie, who was born in 1885 and died in 1978. My mother’s mother was born in 1900, while my other three grandparents were all born in the second half of the 1800s, so there’s three centuries bridged in the blink of an eye.