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  1. #1
    The cold, wet one
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    The tourist's Stratford Upon Avon - on foot.

    I spent the weekend before last in Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire. It was an interesting place for me to revisit, as I spent a lot of family holidays there as a child and the last time I went was 1992/1993, so it was interesting to see the changes in the place.

    I'm afraid a lot of the historical info on this thread is taken from Wiki, as the tourist information office was closed down (!), so I couldn't get it from there, as planned. Anything taken from Wiki will be highlighted & link given.

    The pics were all taken over the course of one afternoon & I walked everywhere (except for a half hour river cruise), so I'm sure there is plenty I missed...

  2. #2
    The cold, wet one
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    A little background...

    Stratford-upon-Avon (pronounced /ˌstrætfɚd əpɒn ˈeɪvən/, from Celtic [ˈavon]) is a market town and civil parish in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, 22 miles (35 km) south east of Birmingham and 8 miles (13 km) south west of the county town, Warwick. It is the main town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers a much larger area than the town itself.[1] In 2001, the town's population was 23,676.
    The town is a popular tourist destination owing to its status as birthplace of the playwright and poet William Shakespeare, receiving about three million visitors a year from all over the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratford-upon-Avon


    OK, pics will come chronolgically in the order that I visited places

  3. #3
    The cold, wet one
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    The first street I got to of interest was Henley Street, where the birthplace of William Shakespeare is situated.



    There is also a museum and visitor centre attached to it and luvvies hold short performances in the gardens...



    Shakespeare's Birthplace is a carefully restored 16th century half-timbered house situated in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, where it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent his childhood years.[1][2] It is now a small museum open to the public and is a popular visitor attraction, owned and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.[3] It has been referred to as "a Mecca for all lovers of literature."




    There are differing views concerning the origin of the building, which possibly dates back to the 15th century, but more likely was built in the mid-16th century.[5]
    At the time of William Shakespeare's birth, Stratford would have been smelly and squalid, with waste and filth lining the streets. Records show that in 1529 John Shakespeare was fined for leaving a pile of muck outside his home in Henley Street, proving that he and his wife Mary did own a house there at the time. The house remained in the family until it was handed down for the final time to William Shakespeare’s daughter and, given that he was born in 1564, it is fairly certain that he was born and brought up there.

    Shakespeare's Birthplace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  4. #4
    The cold, wet one
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    As in much of the town, banks and opticians are located in olde worlde buildings, next to more touristy shops.

    I couldn't quite get my head around a shop that sold Christmas stuff all year round (directly opposite Shakespeare's birthplace)



    or this one just down the road, which was selling 'I love London' merchandise far more prominently than anything about Stratford. I suppose to an American or Japanese tourist one historic town is very much like another??? The mind boggles...


  5. #5
    The cold, wet one
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    After Henley Street, I headed in the direction of the river and the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) theatres.



    There is a statue (pictured) of Shakespeare surrounded by 4 of his most famous characters; Hamlet, Lady Macbeth and (I believe) Prince Hal & Falstaff. For some reason I was fascinated by these statues as a kid & was quite disappointed to see you couldn't access them all at this time, due to construction work.

    Anyway, one I could get close to was Hamlet...



    Then it was a few steps to the river, where I was happy to see one of my favourite childhood pastimes in Stratford still being carried out...



    Aaaah, who am I trying to kid? I still love feeding ducks & swans, even now.

  6. #6
    The cold, wet one
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    Of course, in this part of town, the main RSC theatre dominates



    This was under repair/construction work again. It seemed a little strange to be doing all this work at the beginning of the tourist season, but who knows?

    Every time I visited Stratford as a child, we went for a trip on the river, whether it was my Dad hiring a rowing boat or an organised trip, so, of course I had to do it this time, too. A trip on a leisure boat was £4.50 for half an hour, so that was what I did.



    This is the area that I got the boat from. Holy Trinity Church is the spire in the background.




    We went up one way for about 5 mins, passing the RSC theatre & Holy Trinity Church...





    Then we turned at the weirs & went back the other way.

  7. #7
    The cold, wet one
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    Under this bridge...



    The next part of the boat ride passes nothing famous, but it does pass some gorgeous houses that I would put up with an occasionally flooded garden to live in...





    OK, trip ended, I left the boat and walked past the canal boat moorings



    and the RSC theatres & made my way to Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare and his family are buried.

  8. #8
    The cold, wet one
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    Wandering through the grounds, you first come across the brass rubbing centre



    That's the black & white building just obscured by the blossom. I've been to the brass rubbing place before & it was quite good, but not this time. This time I wanted to set foot inside the church for the first time.

    This is the entrance


  9. #9
    The cold, wet one
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    I'd never seen Shakespeare's grave myself, so I paid the (recommended) £1.50 to gain entrance to the chancel to see it. I was given an information pamphlet, which was reasonably informative.

    Seemingly a Saxon Monastery was built on the site in 713AD and worship has been conducted there since then. The present building dates from 1210. The oldest sections are the tower, transepts & nave pillars. Other parts were added in the 1300's and 1400's.

    This bible dates from 1611 and would have been used during the latter years of Shakespeare's life. I'm actually amazed this pic came out, as I couldn't turn my flash off and I thought it would bounce off the glass.


    This is (a very dark - sorry) pic of the front of the chancel & stained glass windows.


    Entries in the birth & death registers for Shakespeare (sorry, flash was a prob with this pic)


  10. #10
    The cold, wet one
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    So, to Shakespeare's grave. The official pamphlet says he & his family were buried in the church because he was a lay rector. A lady inside the church (I think she was a guide, she certainly seemed very knowledgeable) said it was because his family was one of the richest in the area



    The words on the plaque are carved into the stone, but very difficult to see, now.

    There are a row of 5 or 6 of his family's graves in a line, but the only other one I photographed was his wife, Anne's


  11. #11
    The cold, wet one
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    The pamphlet given was quite interesting. There was a short section about misericords, which are sort of little seats that propped the priests attending the service in a sitting/standing position so they could rest a little. The pamphlet says "They date from the 1400's and some depict life in those times, often in lurid detail!"

    Of course, having read that, I had to try & find & photograph the lurid ones...

    Here is one of the actual misericords. You can just see the little seat jutting in the centre and carvings at either side



    And now for a couple of carvings. No idea what's going on in this one. The guy looks a little aroused, though. Weird threesome? Beating her for not complying with his wishes? Answers on a postcard, please...



    This one is a bit easier. A harridan beating up her poor husband...



    There were also women getting their tongues cut out and wearing scold's bridles. The lady I mentioned before saw me taking these pics and explained that they are very detrimental to women, because the priests were supposed to stick to being celibate & have no earthly desires, which was a lot easier if they saw women as malicious, violent shrews!

  12. #12
    The cold, wet one
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    OK, time to leave the church (website for Holy Trinity - www.shakespeareschurch.org ) & continue on...



    This is Hall's Croft. Back to Wiki for info...

    Hall's Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, was owned by William Shakespeare's daughter, Susannah, and her husband Dr John Hall whom she married in 1607.[1]
    The building now contains a collection of 16th and 17th century paintings and furniture. There is also an exhibition about Doctor John Hall and the obscure medical practices of the period. The property includes a dramatic walled garden which contains a variety of plant life that John Hall may have used in his treatments. John and Susanna Hall later moved to New Place, which William Shakespeare left to his daughter after his death

    Hall's Croft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  13. #13
    The cold, wet one
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    Next was a walk to Shottery, a nearby village to visit Anne Hathaway's Cottage. This was an interesting walk, because the path to it was only occasionally signposted and meandered right through some very Stepford-like housing estates...





    Then it was across a totally unsignposted playing field, through some more (very expensive) estates. Past all that was this rather cute row of houses


  14. #14
    The cold, wet one
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    Eventually I got to the cottage itself (with yet another visitors' centre attached)





    Anne Hathaway's childhood was spent in a house near Stratford in Warwickshire, England. Although it is often called a cottage, it is, in fact, a spacious twelve-roomed farmhouse, with several bedrooms, now set in extensive gardens. It was known as Newlands Farm in Shakespeare's day and had more than 90 acres (360,000 m2) of land attached to it. As in many houses of the period, it has multiple chimneys to spread the heat evenly throughout the house during winter. The largest chimney was used for cooking. It also has visible timber framing, a trademark of vernacular Tudor style architecture.
    After the death of Anne's father, the cottage was owned by Anne's brother Bartholomew, and was passed down the Hathaway family until 1846, when financial problems forced them to sell it. It is now owned and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and is now open to public visitors as a museum.

    Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Really thirsty by now, so stopped at a nearby pub



    and had a nice cold beer (yeah, I know this is real ale country, but I hate that stuff...)

  15. #15
    The cold, wet one
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    It was nearly the end of my afternoon, so I walked back to Stratford & retraced my steps a little.

    My destination was The Dirty Duck (aka The Black Swan), a famous pub, filled with actor's photos & memorabilia. It's near the RSC theatres & I'd been past earlier, but hadn't gone in because it was packed. Unfortunately, by the time I got back, I had no time to enjoy a quick bevvie or two, so some pics of the outside were as far as I got...



    and from across the road, near the river



    Right opposite the Dirty Duck under a tree on the riverbank, I found this. As Vivien Leigh is one of my icons, and I found the epitaph so lovely, I had to include it...




    And last pic: What would an NR thread be without something cute, soft & fluffy?


  16. #16
    On a walkabout
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    Lovely thread NR but I wish you were here with us on Stratford upon Loy Toy tonight as we had a great night with Marmite and his clan, Larvidchr and a guest appearance from Daveboy and his lovely family.

    I have some pictures that I want to post of your little gentleman surfing in Bang Chang but don't know which thread to stick them on. Can I post them here?

  17. #17
    The cold, wet one
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy
    I have some pictures that I want to post of your little gentleman surfing in Bang Chang but don't know which thread to stick them on. Can I post them here?
    Prefer if they went in Members, somewhere, if that's OK.

    Wish I could have been there, too.

  18. #18
    On a walkabout
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    Quote Originally Posted by November Rain
    Wish I could have been there, too.
    We all were missing you like hell.

    My missus, with the assistance of the Midget and Davegirl whipped up a great meal of pies, pasties and spare ribs whilst Marmite, Daveboy, Larv and I done some Q.C on the benefits of Hops in one's diet and the kids were all over the shop as you well know.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat
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    Nice thread NR good to see you are getting about in The UK


    Stratford Upon Avon is a very beautiful place.

  20. #20
    The cold, wet one
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    ^^ Sounds fun. Bet littl'un was having far too much fun to miss me at all!

    ^Thanks, Mathos. Yes, it is lovely, as are a lot of the nearby villages.

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    , Anne Hathaway ,,Shakespeare's wife . Why wasn't she known as Mrs. Anne Shakespeare ? Her stage name perhaps ?

  22. #22
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    Nice pictures. Just up the M40 but I've never managed a visit. Thanks for sharing.

  23. #23
    The cold, wet one
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy the kid
    Anne Hathaway ,,Shakespeare's wife . Why wasn't she known as Mrs. Anne Shakespeare ?
    No idea, I'm afraid. I know she was older than him. Maybe it wasn't the custom to take your husband's name? I really don't know.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bangyai
    Just up the M40 but I've never managed a visit. Thanks for sharing.
    You're welcome & thanks for the green. You really should go. I can also recommend Wooton Wawen & Broadway for quaint houses & excellent afternoon teas.

  24. #24
    Enjoys sheep
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    I went down to Stratford many years ago with an old girlfriend. Had a great few days wandering around.
    Nice thread.

  25. #25
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    Lovely NR, I've visited stratford upon avon, years ago, I don't even recall if I have any pics left, thanks for the effort!

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