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When Did Shakespeare Go To London?

For the third episode of Let’s Talk Shakespeare, we asked “When Did Shakespeare Go to London?”

Jennifer Reid

There are some lost years in Shakespeare’s life, one of which is the period from around 1585 until 1592 when the first reference to him as a playwright appears in print. In this episode I talk to our guests about all the myths and stories that are told around why Shakespeare set out for London. We talk about how he would have travelled and where he would have stayed, but the idea of him as a “literary commuter”, travelling between London and Stratford for most of his life. 

Image: Map of London by Braun and Hogenburg, 1572-80. 

This map of London Slightly pre-dates Shakespeare's move down south - the playhouses on the south bank have not yet been built. But it gives a good impression of the size and layout of the capital city in the late 16th Century.

Map of London
1697 map of London Bridge by John Norden

John Norden's map shows how London Bridge would have looked when Shakespeare made his way across the river from his lodgings on silver street to the playhouses.

This weeks guests are:

- Professor Stanley Wells, Honorary President of the SBT
- Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute
- Dr Elizabeth Dollimore, Outreach and Primary Learning Manager at the SBT
- Dr Anjna Chouhan, Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at the SBT
- Dr Tara Hamling, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern history at Birmingham University
- Madeleine Cox, Reading Room and Public Services Coordinator at the SBT

If you want to get in touch, you can tweet us on @ShakespeareBT or using the hashtag #talkshakespeare

Related posts on our Finding Shakespeare blog:

Portrait of Deer Poaching Shakespeare