Our story : past
Shakespeare's Birthplace, engraving, 1769
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was formed in 1847 following the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as a national memorial.
The role of the Trust grew with the purchase in 1862 of Shakespeare’s New Place estate, comprising the site of Shakespeare’s grand final home and Nash’s House (the home of Thomas Nash and Shakespeare’s grand-daughter Elizabeth).
The last house to be acquired was Hall’s Croft, the home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband, physician Dr John Hall, in 1949.
In 1964 to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth the Trust threw open the doors of its new headquarters and study facility, the Shakespeare Centre. This distinctive building provides a home for the Trust’s extensive Shakespeare Centre library and archive (including the RSC archive). The second part of this project, an extension including facilities for the Trust educational and cultural work and a visitor centre for Shakespeare’s Birthplace, was added in 1981.
In addition to the Shakespeare Houses, the Trust cares for Harvard House on behalf of the Harvard House Memorial Trust.