William Shakespeare’s grand family home in Stratford-upon-Avon was razed in 1702. Now the site of Shakespeare’s New Place, his last home, is set to become a major new landmark attraction, thanks to a confirmed grant of £1,815,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), it was announced today.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust aims to re-imagine the internationally significant site, creating a place where visitors can discover the story of Shakespeare at the height of his success as a writer and prominent citizen of his home town. The project will also be a catalyst for involving the communities of Stratford and the wider Midlands region with the world-famous heritage on their doorstep through new volunteering and education programmes.
Work is due to start in March 2015, and Shakespeare’s New Place is scheduled to open for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on 23rd April 2016*. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will now also seek matching funds to support the £5.25m project.
The re-imagined Shakespeare’s New Place project:
will be invited to walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new entrance
on the footprint of his original gatehouse.
landscape treatment will echo the original house, giving visitors an impression
of its scale and its relationship to the surrounding buildings, such as the
neighbouring school and Guild Chapel once attended by Shakespeare.
artworks and displays throughout the site will evoke a sense of family
life and Shakespeare’s major works written during the 19 years he owned New
- The project will also see further works to the neighbouring Nash’s House, sunken Knot Garden, and Great Garden.
Nash’s House will be conserved and extended to provide an exhibition centre where rare and important artefacts relating to New Place can be displayed, many of them for the first time. There will be space for informal learning and family activities, and modern, fully accessible, facilities for visitors, staff and volunteers. The home of Shakespeare’s granddaughter Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Nash has been the entrance to New Place for many years. The Grade I listed building, a fine example of Tudor architecture, requires essential conservation work, including structural repairs, to remain open to the public.
The sunken Knot Garden will be restored in keeping with the intention of the original design by Ernest Law, the renowned garden designer who was considered one of the finest exponents of the Jacobean knot garden revivals of the early twentieth century.
Elements of the Great Garden, the largest surviving part of Shakespeare’s estate, will be conserved and restored following the opening of New Place in 2016. A garden apprenticeship scheme will be developed as part of the transformation project, and apprentices will support the ongoing development of the Grade II registered garden to a conservation management plan. Local residents have enjoyed free entry to the Great Garden for many years, and this will continue when New Place reopens.
Find out more about Shakespeare's New Place
*Update: The re-opening of Shakespeare’s New Place was postponed following delays caused by adverse weather. The site will open from 11am, Saturday 20 August 2016 - read our New Place postponement press release for more details.