Following on from my previous North East rail tours excursion to Fort William post, I was able to follow this up with a trip to Stratford upon Avon, a place I had been wanting to photograph for many a year. From my home location a road trip was never an option so this provided the ideal opportunity to visit. The title image depicts the train arriving in Newcastle upon Tyne at the start of the day.
It is thought that William Shakespeare was born in the above house in Henley Street during 1864 and that he spent a good number of his childhood years there. Very little is known about his early life but he went on to become one of the worlds most famous playwrights, writing at least 37 plays between 1590 and 1613.
His birthplace is now a small museum which is run by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and attracts many visitors over the course of the year. The Trust have restored this 16th century half timbered house, which at the time that Shakespeare lived in it would not have been thought of as modest. It was built from local oak taken from the Forest of Arden and Blue Grey stone from Wilmcote and features the traditional wattle and daub of the time. The property had an interesting history being passed down through the family line for some years but regrettably fell into a state of disrepair until it was purchased for the sum of £3000 by the Shakespeare Birthday Committee (which became the Shakespeare Birthplace trust) in 1847.
The Jester touchstone who was in the Shakespeare play "As you Like it".
It stands on a plinth and is made of bronze with the inscription "O noble fool, a worthy fool - The fool doth think he is wise but a wise man knows himself to be a fool"
The Shrieve's barn and house is the oldest lived in dwelling in Stratford with the first house being built on this site in 1196. During the 16th century the building was used as an Inn with the landlord becoming the influence for Shakespeare to develop the character of Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
It was later the residence of the first mayor of Stratford and also Edward Gibbs who was the person responsible for renovating Shakespeare's birthplace from an Inn to a museum.
The White Swan Hotel built in 1450 and renovated in 2012
The Garrick Inn is a timber building that dates back to the 15th century and is accompanied by a rich tapestry of stories including fatal fires, the plague and priest holes. It is still believed to be haunted and has the reputation of being the oldest pub in the city.
The mosaic portrait of William Shakespeare is Venetian in style with the design being based on Shakespeare's monument in the city's Holy Trinity church. It was created by Antonio Salviati who famously installed venetian mosaics in more than fifty English churches.
A tudor style door and window adjacent to The Guild Chapel
Hall's Croft was owned by William Shakespeare's daughter Susanna Hall and her husband Dr John Hall (married in 1607). Interestingly the property boasts a walled garden at the rear which contains a collection of plants that may well have been used by Susanna's husband in his role as a doctor.
Nowadays the building hosts paintings and furniture from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre was built in 1932 and re-opened in 2010 following an extensive renovation project that it was part of costing £112.8 million. The aim throughout has been to create an authentic / traditional Shakespearean "one room" theatre experience. It seats over 1040 and stands adjacent to the site of the original theatre which opened in 1879 and was destroyed by fire in 1926.
The Stratford upon Avon canal was built during the time of The Industrial revolution between 1793 and 1816 and runs for over 25 miles. The canal became unnavigable in the mid 20th century and was later used in modern times for pleasure trips and cruises.
Time to return for the train at the railway station ... still thinking about what a canal side Shakespearian Ice Cream tastes like. It looks like he enjoyed it anyway !!