Conservation work at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Visitors are being invited to check out conservation work taking place next week on the chimney at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in a bid to learn more about traditional techniques used in conservation work.

24 September 2013

Planning permission and listed building consent has already been granted for the work which will allow the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Conservation Team to take down the chimney brick by brick and repair it from the inside.

Paul Llewellyn, Site Works Supervisor at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said “The chimney on Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, which is now several hundred years old, is in desperate need of repair and we want to ensure that any repair work carried out is in line with the fabric of the building.

“We will carefully take down the chimney brick by brick and repair it from the inside. The chimney will then be rebuilt to its exact previous dimensions using as many of the original bricks as possible. If any bricks are too badly damaged, they will be replaced with matching ones. The repair will be done in traditional fashion using a lime mortar rather than modern cement.”

“Investigation works on the chimney have already been carried out to ascertain the extent and cause of the problem. By removing one brick and feeding a fibre optic camera inside the chimney we were able to see that the brickwork inside the flue had become detached and is therefore falling into the fireplace of the kitchen below. As a temporary measure boards have been put in place to stop the rubble from damaging the fireplace and chimney further until work begins next week.”

The chimney is built with a mixture of blue lias stone and handmade bricks and the stone section of the chimney is not visible to visitors.

Philippa Rawlinson, Head of Operations at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “We hope that visitors will come and see the kind of work which is involved in conserving these important buildings. Many people do not realise that visitor support is vital to us as an independent charity and that this work is only possible thanks to income generated from ticket sales.”

Visitors are invited to see the conservation work in action at the Cottage which will remain open to the public throughout and will not be affected by the work.

Work is set to take place from 1 October and will last for three to four weeks depending on weather conditions.

During October free half-term activities are also on offer at the Cottage which will see a Macbeth Trail at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Gardens and scary story telling in the woods, where children aged seven and above can enjoy hearing spooky tales set against the back drop of Shakespeare’s sweetheart’s childhood. Events are included in the ticket price. For more information visit the what’s on page at