Last week saw the installation and opening of our new exhibition at Hall’s Croft; ‘The First World War, Shakespeare and Stratford’.
This poignant exhibition provides an insight into Stratford-upon-Avon before and during the Great War, and explores the uses of Shakespeare’s work during that time as a morale booster to civilians and soldiers alike.
The exhibition includes items from the Stratford celebrations in April 1914 (before the War) and 1916 (during the War), which were both important dates for Shakespeare as the world marked 350 years since the playwright’s birth and the tricentenary of his death, respectively.
Also on display are a WWI bayonet crossed over a 16th century Halberd, the Last Will and Testament of a young man heading off to France, and another one from a man whose greatest worry was who would care for his daughter Alice if he did not return.
Letters from the son of Fred Winter, who had already established a shop that stands in Henley Street to this day, mostly concerned the weather. He would survive the War to succeed his father in running the shop. There is also a telegram sent to a mother, whose son was not so lucky.
The largest single item in the exhibition is a commemoration of fallen soldiers from the local area, whose names were taken from the War memorial nearby.