SBT Offers Free Open Day of Museum and Archives

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust offers free open day of its world-class museum and archive collection.

31 October 2013

If you have ever wanted to uncover the stories, people and places that lie behind the history and development of Stratford-upon-Avon, head to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Library and archive on 19 November.  The charity is taking part in the nationwide Explore Your Archive campaign organised by the National Archives to raise awareness of the rich variety and value of historic records available to the public.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s collections team has assembled a special selection of original documents, artefacts and books relating to the life and times of the town in Shakespeare’s day. Items on display will include the Parish Register containing Shakespeare’s baptism and burial entries, the town mace as well as objects illustrating the social history of Elizabethan and Jacobean Stratford.  Visitors will be able to explore a box of curios containing facsimile documents, and replica Tudor artefacts about Thomas Lett who was issued with a beggars licence in Stratford-upon-Avon during Shakespeare’s life time. The story box of the Lett family is usually used for the charity’s educational Primary school programme.

Amy Hurst, Collections Archivist at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “While anyone can use our reading room free of charge, many people have no idea what our collection has to offer.  The Explore Your Archive Day is a great opportunity for people to find out.  We have focused on items relating to the life and times of Shakespeare because the appearance of the Shakespeare family in our records is what lifts them from local to international importance.”

In addition to the largest collection of Shakespeare-related material open to the public the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust also holds local history archives for Stratford and South Warwickshire dating from 1150 to present day,50,000 books, 11,000 museum objects and the ever expanding production archive of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Dr Robert Bearman, the leading local historian and former Head of Archives and Local Studies at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said,“This archive has already yielded some of secrets for those tracingtheir families or the history of their town or village. Huge sections of it remain largely unexplored, a fruitful hunting ground for those with an interest in their local past.”


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Notes to editors:

Press release date: 31 October 2013

For more information please contact Press and Public Affairs Officer Nurinder Mantell or call 01789 207136.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Archive Open Day takes place on 19 November from 10am – 3pmin the Reading Room, at the Shakespeare Centre in Henley Street.  For more information contact


About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Collections - the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust collection includes three copies of the 1623 First Folio and 31 of the 79 handwritten documents that mention Shakespeare in his lifetime. The collection is open to the public on request. Contact for more information.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world.

The charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages. 

It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no public subsidy or direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends.

For further information visit


Explore Your Archive campaign takes place from 16 November. For more information visit and is organised by theNational Archives - a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. As the official archive of the UK government and England and Wales, we look after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back over 1,000 years, including records as diverse as Domesday Book and MI5 files. Our 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible as possible. We do this by devising technological solutions to ensure the long-term survival of public records and working to widen access to our collection. The National Archives also advises on information management across government, publishes all UK legislation, manages Crown copyright and leads the archive sector. We work to promote and improve access to public sector information and its re-use