If we, the British public, are being encouraged to stay at home for our holidays this summer, then we need to know where to explore. I thought a good place to start would be the birth place of legendary poet and playwright Sir William Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was founded in 1847, and is an independent charity, who cares for the world’s most prolific Shakespeare heritage sites. In 1862 Shakespeare’s New Place Estate was purchased by the trust along with Nash House, where Shakespeare’s granddaughter and Thomas Nash lived. Anne Hathaway’s cottage (childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife) also added to the trusts collection in 1892, and in 1930, May Arden’s house was also purchased. Finally in 1949 the last edition to the Shakespeare’s architectural heritage was obtained by the trust, Halls Croft (home to Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her physician husband, Dr John Hall).
After the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust opened ‘The Shakespeare Centre’, the headquarters and study facility with a wonderful library and archive. In 1981, the visitor centre opened. The five Shakespeare houses and gardens located in Stratford-upon-Avon, hold and portray Shakespeare’s works and life. The museum is now open to the public, and there is both a formal and informal education programme. The idea of such a programme is to spread Shakespearean knowledge through generations all over the globe.
This delightful attraction has over 750,000 visitors every year and is a wonderful treat for all.
“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”
-Twelfth Night (II, v, 156-159)