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Shakespeare's Birthplace

Henley Street
CV37 6QW

The "Man of the Millennium" William Shakespeare, was born in 1564 in the half-timbered house in Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon. This is where the young William spent his child-hood and is believed to have been educated at the local grammar school.

Entrance to the Birthplace, is through The Shakespeare Centre further up Henley Street. Here in the visitor centre, you will find an exciting new exhibition about the life and background of Shakespeare, following his life and work from his birth in 1564 to the time of his death in 1616.

There are specially constructed scenes, sound effects, original artefacts and books; there is also a scale model of Shakespeare's Globe. The exhibition culminates with a copy of the first Folio of the Bard's works, published in 1623.

From the visitor centre, you are escorted to the Birthplace through the beautiful, traditional English garden. This has been planted with many of the trees, flowers and herbs, much loved and mentioned by Shakespeare in his plays.

The house was originally divided in two parts, to allow John Shakespeare, William's father, who was a glove maker and wool dealer, to carry out his business from the same premises. Ownership of the house remained in the same family until 1806. Now owned by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the house has been carefully restored and still retains many of its original features.

Typical of the times, the building was constructed in wattle and daub, local oak from the Forest of Arden and blue-grey stone from Wilmcote. The fireplace in the living room is an unusual combination of early brick and stone, it is believed that the broken stone floor is the original.

Above the living room is the famous "Birth Room" of William Shakespeare; the low uneven ceiling and the ancient stone and brick fireplace, add to the special atmosphere of this chamber. In another room you can see the fascinating window, on which many famous people recorded their visit of tribute, by engraving their signatures on the glass. It is interesting to see how many you can find; some to look out for are Thomas Carlyle, Sir Walter Scott and Isaac Watts. Three further rooms, which were used as bed-chambers, are on view and one contains an exhibition of the history of the house.

At present The Birthplace Trust are undertaking the major project of the re-presentation of The Birthplace. Rooms will be furnished, as accurately as possible recreating an interior which would have been familiar to the young William as a boy in the 1570's.

There are also plans to recreate the business premises of John Shakespeare, by reconstructing his workroom and the glover's shop. Much research has been done to ensure that all furniture, textiles and artefacts are authentic to the period.

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Shakespeare's Birthplace Postcode for SatNav: CV37 6QW


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