Chawton House Library | First Option Software Ltd - Hampshire UK

Chawton House Library

It isn’t just hi-tech companies that need online solutions, heritage sites do too. And they also require offline marketing collateral, of course.

“We’ve had universal praise so far, and the use of the shop and enquiry forms is a testament to the numbers of people who are engaging with us more effectively via the new site. I look forward to working with you all again soon and would not hesitate to recommend FOS to colleagues and friends.”

Eleanor Marsden, Director of Development


How we help Chawton House Library

The Brief

First Option Software won the tender to design and build the website for Chawton House Library – Jane Austen’s brother’s famous 16th century house – based near Alton. Part of the brief was to review their existing branding to introduce consistency across their visual identity.

As a charity, largely funded by private subscription, visitors, hirings and voluntary help, Chawton House’s website had the potential to serve as a powerful marketing tool. Their biggest asset is the house itself which lends itself to a variety of functions – eg Women’s writing, tours, weddings, conferences, vintage car rallies and outdoor theatre. The demographic of typical visitors is in the 50s-70s age bracket and part of the aim of the rebrand is to maintain the classic look and feel whilst attracting a younger audience as well.

First Option Software performed a detailed analysis of the existing marketing offering, the brand, the functionality of the website and digital marketing activity.

Taking full advantage of WordPress, the open-source content management system, the new website boasts powerful features achieved on a modest budget. Features include picture galleries, events calendar and e-commerce area for the sale of merchandise, ticketed events and literature.

Long-term Project

The end result of the first phase was that Chawton House Library enjoyed the benefits of a consistent and complete brand with a redesigned logo, new promotional literature, display materials and website. This consistency leads to greater brand awareness and with that the  welcome increase in visitor numbers, online sales, financial and voluntary support that a charity such as Chawton House needs to exist. But brands evolve, as does technology, and websites are only effective if they are monitored and updated with fresh content. The same goes for the other marketing materials which also need constant and consistent refreshing.

Worth Mentioning

Social media is a great place for finding out what people really think of you, so we thought it was worth repeating a few of the kind comments that people, completely unsolicited, mentioned on Twitter and Facebook (both of which Chawton House embrace as part of their marketing activity):

Chawton House Library leaflet design

“Just looked up the new website, looks fantastic! Well done all!

 “…wonderful and interesting new website”

“A beautiful place and a beautiful website”