Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
London, England, United Kingdom
March 10, 2010
From journal Shakespeare's Stratford
August 26, 2005
When you get to the house, you enter a large reception area where you buy tickets. This actually leads you into a museum area where many wonderful exhibits about Shakespeare and Elizabethan life are on display. Here you are allowed to wander at your leisure, and the boys in our company enjoyed pressing buttons on a few interactive exhibits such as the display that lit up who got what from Shakespeare's will. I was feeling a bit out of sorts when I first saw that he left his daughter the house and his wife just the "second-best bed" until a docent explained that Anne Hathaway's inheritance would have been well protected under English law at the time. Half the estate would have been understood to go to the widow without her husband having to go to the pains of writing this down.
In addition, while I always think of Shakespeare as a writer, I also liked being reminded through some of the displays that he was an actor who often graced the stage. Of course, much of his work kept him in London as an adult rather than in Stratford.
Once in the main house, we started to see rooms restored to the correct time period. A "host" is in each section to answer questions. We learned that John Shakespeare, William's father, was a glove maker who was known to be ambitious. We then went to the second floor where many famous people have paid homage to one of the world's most famous writers. The highlight is the bedroom in which it is believed William first drew breath in 1564. It's been lovingly restored with period reproductions, the four poster bed draped with a wonderful canopy of fine fabrics. Then it was downstairs to the obligatory gift shop before we exited through to the nicely kept garden. Out on the street, we found a charming section of Stratford bustling with little pastry shops, book stores, and a few characters in Tudor dress who would pose for a picture.
The Shakespeare birthplace is opened all year Monday-Sunday with extended hours in the summer. Adult tickets are around $15, kids $6; however, there is a "family deal" that will give you a bit of a break, and if you buy your tickets through a tour or in a package that allows you to visit some of the other homes important to the area's famous bard, you will also get a deal.
From journal Wandering Warwick
August 10, 2004
I studied some of his most famous poems in my schooling, so I was amazed to see myself at Stratford-upon-Avon in the birthplace of William Shakespeare. I visited on the 25th July 2004. Set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the river Avon, it is one of the most important tourist destinations in the UK. A lot of tourists want to visit the homes of this famous Dramatist and Poet.
Purchasing the tickets to visit all the 5 houses, I first visited Shakespeare’s birthplace. The house originally belonged to his father, John, who became a successful Stratford businessman. John & Mary Shakespeare moved from nearby Snitterfield to Stratford in 1529 and William Shakespeare was born in 1564.
The Shakespeare Birthday Committee with the moral and financial support of the public obtained the Henley Street House in 1847. An extensive project of restoration then took place to restore the house to its former glory. The house is approached via the visitor’s centre, which holds a comprehensive exhibition about Shakespeare’s life. Most of the houses retain much of their original character.
From journal Visit to the Literary Landmark in Britain
Saint John, New Brunswick
The house was bought for the nation in 1847 after an appeal to raise money for such a purpose. When it was a public house, Shakespeare’s birthplace was converted back to Elizabethan style. Objects associated with Shakespeare’s father, John, a glovemaker and wool merchant, are on display.
There is a birth room, in which Shakespeare was supposedly born, and another room has a window etched with visitors’ autographs including that of Sir Walton Scott.
As a result of the house/museum, Stratford has become a literary shrine to Britain’s greatest dramatist. It also has a thriving cultural reputation as the provincial home of the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, whose dramas are usually performed in Stratford before playing a second season in London.
August 2, 2004
The Shakespeare Houses are the major tourist attraction in Stratford and there are a total of five houses altogether, including Shakespeare’s birthplace. The pass only costs £13 and is valid for 1 year. It’s much better to buy the "ALL FIVE SHAKESPEARE HOUSES" pass because some of the houses' passes cost £5+.
Inside Shakespeare’s birthplace, there’s a family tree of John Shakespeare (William’s father), a portrait of William Shakespeare, his will and the clothing that people wore during that time. There’s a tour guide who will brief visitors on the history of William Shakespeare and his house. What’s amazing is the furniture that is displayed in the house - the bed and table and chairs are the actual furniture that Shakespeare used. I think it’s super-cool. It’s quite disappointing that photography is not allowed in the house. I didn’t get to take any of my pictures in it, but I managed to take lots of pictures in the lovely garden.
For more details, logon to www.shakespeare.org.uk
From journal Fall in love with the lovely Stratford
June 24, 2004
The Birthplace is accessed through the rather nasty looking brick building adjacent, which houses the visitor's centre and an exhibition on Billy's life and times. Exhibits include a 16th century school desk from where Billy is studied, a first edition of Billy's collected works and a detailed scale model of the original Globe Theatre in London. The exhibition is interesting, though a little disjointed, as it attempts to present the few facts that are known of Billy's life and weave them into a larger picture of Elizabethan life, but it does do a fine job of setting-the-scene for what is to come.
The Birthplace was built around 1568 for John Shakespeare, Billy's father, a prosperous glove-maker and wool-merchant, and his wife Mary. Billy was born here in 1564 and continued to live here for many years, joined by his wife Anne following their marriage in 1582, before he moved to London to find his fame and fortune. Billy inherited the Birthplace following his father's death in 1601 and the property passed down the family line, through his sister Joan Hart, until the early 19th century. The Birthplace was acquired by the trust at auction in 1847 and underwent painstaking refurbishment to replicate how it would have looked during Billy's time.
The entrance leads past a small display introducing you to the building, before opening up into the Birthplace itself. The first room on the ground floor is the parlour, which contains the guest bed, was where the family would have gathered during the day. A doorway leads through to the hall with its large set dinning table and gothic style benches where the family would have dinned, and the Workshop with dressed animal skins and glove-making tools on display where John would have carried out his business and sold to the public.
Upstairs are the bedrooms, the first contains an exhibition on the history of the house and displays the original bathroom window where many 18th century visitors including Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Carlyle scratched their names. The next room is furnished with a half-headed bed and replica painted cloths while the final room, where according to legend Billy was born, displays a cradle, toys and other replica items from Elizabethan childhood. The rear-wing was added around 1601 when this part of the house was used as an inn and upstairs has a small display of archaeological upstairs and a replica kitchen and buttery downstairs that in Billy's time would have been in a separate outhouse. Outside is a picturesque Victorian country garden, planted with many of the flowers mentioned in Billy's works.
The Birthplace provides a fascinating insight into Elizabethan life and is a delight for and fan of Billy's and his work and is still well worth a visit even if you are not.
From journal Stratford-Upon-Avon: The Shakespere Houses
Riverview, New Brunswick
September 15, 2003
Shakespeare was famous in his own day, and a prosperous man he became, owning good property in the area. His birthplace became a pilgimage site during the nineteenth century when famous writers and poets would scratch their names or initials on the glass in the window of the house. Scott, Carlyle and Henry Irving would all leave their mark . . . one wonders today if they weren't just young vandals or members of the literati who wanted their names associated with the great bard.
The house is as late medieval as a 16th-century home should be, and to be honest, what it may lack in "style", it makes up for in its ghosts. A lot of what you see in these places is illusion, stage management, and that is all true of this place . . . but to imagine that you are walking on floors once walked upon by the young man, that this is the room of his birth is quite "a rush".
The house is not grand. Shakespeare's father made his money in the leather trade and became an important city official . . . it was this link to city government that probably exposed the young Shakespeare to the world of the travelling theatres of the 16th century. People visit, not for the sight of riches, but for the reputation and the works of one of the greatest playwrites to ever pick up a pen.
From journal From Oxford to Warwick, England