Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon

Overview
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 and civil parish in south Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

, England. It lies on the River Avon
River Avon, Warwickshire
The River Avon or Avon is a river in or adjoining the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in the Midlands of England...

, 22 miles (35.4 km) south east of Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 and 8 miles (12.9 km) south west of Warwick
Warwick
Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England. The town lies upon the River Avon, south of Coventry and just west of Leamington Spa and Whitnash with which it is conjoined. As of the 2001 United Kingdom census, it had a population of 23,350...

. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon
Stratford-on-Avon (district)
Stratford-on-Avon is a local government district of southern Warwickshire in England.The district is named "Stratford-on-Avon" to distinguish it from its main town of Stratford-upon-Avon where the district council is based, although this name often causes confusion .The district is mostly rural and...

, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers a much larger area than the town itself. Four electoral wards make up the urban town of Stratford; Alveston, Avenue and New Town, Mount Pleasant and Guild and Hathaway.
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Encyclopedia
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 and civil parish in south Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

, England. It lies on the River Avon
River Avon, Warwickshire
The River Avon or Avon is a river in or adjoining the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in the Midlands of England...

, 22 miles (35.4 km) south east of Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 and 8 miles (12.9 km) south west of Warwick
Warwick
Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England. The town lies upon the River Avon, south of Coventry and just west of Leamington Spa and Whitnash with which it is conjoined. As of the 2001 United Kingdom census, it had a population of 23,350...

. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon
Stratford-on-Avon (district)
Stratford-on-Avon is a local government district of southern Warwickshire in England.The district is named "Stratford-on-Avon" to distinguish it from its main town of Stratford-upon-Avon where the district council is based, although this name often causes confusion .The district is mostly rural and...

, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers a much larger area than the town itself. Four electoral wards make up the urban town of Stratford; Alveston, Avenue and New Town, Mount Pleasant and Guild and Hathaway. The estimated total population for those wards in 2007 was 25,505.

The town is a popular tourist destination owing to its status as birthplace of the playwright and poet William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, receiving about three million visitors a year from all over the world. The Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
The Royal Shakespeare Company is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs 700 staff and produces around 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon and plays regularly in London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and on tour across...

 resides in Stratford's Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a 1,040+ seat thrust stage theatre owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company dedicated to the British playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is located in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespeare's birthplace - in the English Midlands, beside the River Avon...

, one of Britain's most important cultural venues.

History


Stratford has Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 origins, and grew up as a market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 in medieval times. The original charters of the town were granted in 1196, making Stratford officially over 800 years old. The name is a fusion of the Old English strǣt, meaning "street", and ford, meaning that a Roman road forded the River Avon at the site of the town.

In 1769 the actor David Garrick
David Garrick
David Garrick was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century and was a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson...

 staged a major Shakespeare Jubilee
Shakespeare Jubilee
The Shakespeare Jubilee was staged in Stratford-upon-Avon between 5-7 September 1769. The jubilee was organised by the actor and theatre manager David Garrick to celebrate the jubilee of the birth of William Shakespeare. It had a major impact on the rising tide of bardolatry that led to Shakespeare...

 which saw the construction of a large rotunda
Rotunda (architecture)
A rotunda is any building with a circular ground plan, sometimes covered by a dome. It can also refer to a round room within a building . The Pantheon in Rome is a famous rotunda. A Band Rotunda is a circular bandstand, usually with a dome...

 and the influx of many visitors for the three day event. This contributed to the growing phenomenon
Phenomenon
A phenomenon , plural phenomena, is any observable occurrence. Phenomena are often, but not always, understood as 'appearances' or 'experiences'...

 of Bardolatry
Bardolatry
Bardolatry is a term that refers to the excessive adulation of William Shakespeare, a portmanteau of "bard" and "idolatry." Shakespeare has been known as "the Bard" since the nineteenth century. One who idolizes Shakespeare is known as a Bardolater....

 which made Stratford a tourist destination.

Governance


The administrative body for the town is the Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, which is based at the Civic Hall in Rother Street (not to be confused with the Stratford-on-Avon District Council, which is based at Elizabeth House, Church Street). The Town Council is responsible for crime prevention, cemeteries, public conveniences, litter, river moorings, parks, and grants via the Town Trust, plus the selection of the town's mayor. Locally, the town is known simply as Stratford, and as such can be confused with the Stratford
Stratford, London
Stratford is a place in the London Borough of Newham, England. It is located east northeast of Charing Cross and is one of the major centres identified in the London Plan. It was historically an agrarian settlement in the ancient parish of West Ham, which transformed into an industrial suburb...

 in the London Borough of Newham
London Borough of Newham
The London Borough of Newham is a London borough formed from the towns of West Ham and East Ham, within East London.It is situated east of the City of London, and is north of the River Thames. According to 2006 estimates, Newham has one of the highest ethnic minority populations of all the...

.

Geography


Stratford is close to the Cotswolds
Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are a range of hills in west-central England, sometimes called the Heart of England, an area across and long. The area has been designated as the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty...

, with Chipping Campden
Chipping Campden
Chipping Campden is a small market town within the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England. It is notable for its elegant terraced High Street, dating from the 14th century to the 17th century...

 10 miles (16.1 km) to the south. As a major sheep-producing area, the Cotswolds, up until the latter part of the 19th century, regarded Stratford as one of its main centres for the slaughter, marketing, and distribution of sheep and wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

. As a consequence Stratford also became a centre for tanning
Tanning
Tanning is the making of leather from the skins of animals which does not easily decompose. Traditionally, tanning used tannin, an acidic chemical compound from which the tanning process draws its name . Coloring may occur during tanning...

 during the 15th–17th centuries. Both the river and the Roman road served as trade routes for the town.

Suburbs and areas of Stratford-upon-Avon include Shottery
Shottery
Shottery is a small village a mile west of Stratford-Upon-Avon; nowadays, it is considered a part of the town, but it retains the feeling of a distinct village.-History and amenities:...

, Bishopton, Bridgetown, Tiddington, and Old Town.

Climate


Stratford experiences a temperature maritime climate, as is usual for the British Isles, meaning extreme heat, or extreme cold are rare, sunshine is on the low side, and rainfall is spread evenly throughout the year.

The record high temperature is 35.7 °C (96.3 °F), set in August 1990, compared to the typical summer maximum of 22 °C (72 °F). The record low temperature is −21.0 °C (−5.8 °F), recorded in January 1982. With an average of 62 frosts a year, Stratford is a relatively frosty location. For comparison, nearby Wellesbourne averages 53 frosts a year, and further afield, Malvern, just 33.
Sunshine, at under 1,400 hours a year, is on the low side. Like much of inland Britain, Stratford is afflicted by cloud development on many days, while more coastal areas remain clear. An example of this is shown in the image to the right.

Rainfall, at around 620 mm is typical for low lying areas of central and eastern England. Over 1 mm of rain was recorded on 115.7 days per year, according to the 1971–2000 observation period.

Economy








Apart from tourism, which is a major employer locally, especially in the hotel, hospitality industry
Hospitality industry
The hospitality industry consists of broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, restaurants, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry. The hospitality industry is a several billion dollar industry...

 and catering sectors, other industries in the town are boat building
Boat building
Boat building, one of the oldest branches of engineering, is concerned with constructing the hulls of boats and, for sailboats, the masts, spars and rigging.-Parts:* Bow - the front and generally sharp end of the hull...

 and maintenance, bicycles, mechanical and electrical engineering, food manufacture, Information Technology, and call centre
Call centre
A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing,...

 and service sector activities (both of which are growing sectors), a large motor sales sector, industrial plant hire, building suppliers, market gardening
Market gardening
A market garden is the relatively small-scale production of fruits, vegetables and flowers as cash crops, frequently sold directly to consumers and restaurants. It is distinguishable from other types of farming by the diversity of crops grown on a small area of land, typically, from under one acre ...

, farming, storage and transport logistics, finance and insurance, and a large retail sector.

Major employers in the town include the NFU Mutual Insurance Company
NFU Mutual
The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited, trading as NFU Mutual, is a UK registered mutual insurance composite. It underwrites more than £1 billion in annual premium in life and general insurance lines for rural communities within the UK. NFU Mutual is based in...

 (and Avon Insurance), AMEC
AMEC
AMEC plc is a global consultancy, engineering and project management company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is focused on the oil and gas, minerals and metals, renewable energy, environment and infrastructure sectors and has offices in 40 countries worldwide...

, Tesco
Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

, Morrisons
Morrisons
Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc is the fourth largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, headquartered in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The company is usually referred to and is branded as Morrisons formerly Morrison's, and it is part of the FTSE 100 Index of companies...

, Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer plc is a British retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products...

, Debenhams
Debenhams
Debenhams plc is a British retailer operating under a department store format in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, and franchise stores in other countries. The Company was founded in the eighteenth century as a single store in London and has now grown to around 160 shops...

, B & Q and Pashley Cycles
Pashley Cycles
Pashley Cycles is an English bicycle manufacturer in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, established in 1926. The company has been making bicycles for more than 80 years.-History:...

. There are, nominally, three theatres run by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, which attract large audiences and income for the town.

Tourism


The regular large influx of tourists and sightseers is recognised by most of the town's business operators as being the major source of prosperity. The District Council in 2010 allocated a budget of £298,000 to tourist promotion and supports an official open-top tour bus service. However, in March 2010, the District Council withdrew funding of the Tourist Information Centre, causing it and its parent company; South Warwickshire Tourism Ltd to cease trading. The operation had been jointly funded by the Warwick District Council. Negotiations for the appointment of a liquidator were expected to clear the way for a restructured service. In November 2010 Stratford-on-Avon District Council launched a re-branded official tourism website for the Stratford area called Discover Stratford after opening a new tourist information centre on Henley Street in May 2010, in close proximity to Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare's Birthplace is a carefully restored 16th century half-timbered house situated in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, where it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent his childhood years. It is now a small museum open to the public and is a...

.

Theatre


The first real theatre in Stratford was a temporary wooden affair built in 1769 by the actor David Garrick
David Garrick
David Garrick was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century and was a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson...

 for his Jubilee
Jubilee
-Anniversaries and celebrations:*Jubilee , Royal Jubilee years are depicted in Egyptian history*Jubilee , the Jubilee year specified in the Torah*Jubilee , a special year for the remission of sins and universal pardon...

 celebrations of that year to mark Shakespeare's birthday. The theatre, built not far from the site of the present Royal Shakespeare Theatre, was almost washed away in two days of torrential rain that resulted in terrible flooding.

A small theatre known as The Royal Shakespeare Rooms was built in the gardens of Shakespeare's New Place
New Place
New Place is the name of William Shakespeare's final place of residence in Stratford-upon-Avon. He died there in 1616. Though the house no longer exists, the land is owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust....

 home in the early 19th century but became derelict by the 1860s.

To celebrate Shakespeare's 300th birthday in 1864 the brewer, Charles Edward Flower
Charles Edward Flower
Charles Edward Flower was an English brewer.He was the eldest son of Edward Fordham Flower and brother of William Henry Flower.It was through his efforts, that, in 1864, to celebrate Shakespeare's 300th birthday, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre was built. Unfortunately, the theatre was destroyed...

, instigated the building of a temporary wooden theatre, known as the Tercentenary Theatre, which was built in a part of the brewer's large gardens on what is today the site of the new, and temporary, Courtyard Theatre
Courtyard Theatre
The Courtyard Theatre is a temporary 1,048 seat thrust stage theatre building in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Designed by Ian Ritchie Architects and built in 11 months, it opened in August 2006 to host performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company while its Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres...

. After three months the Tercentenary Theatre was dismantled, with the timber used for house-building purposes.

In the early 1870s, Charles Flower gave several acres of riverside land to the local council on the understanding that a permanent theatre be built in honour of Shakespeare's memory, and by 1879 the first Shakespeare Memorial Theatre had been completed. It proved to be a huge success, and by the early 20th century was effectively being run by the actor/manager Frank Benson
Francis Robert Benson
Sir Francis Robert Benson , commonly known as Frank Benson or F. R. Benson, was a British actor-manager...

, later Sir Frank Benson.

The theatre burned down in 1926, with the then artistic director, William Bridges-Adams, moving all productions to the local cinema.

An architectural competition was arranged to elicit designs for a new theatre, with the winner, English architect Elisabeth Scott
Elisabeth Scott
Elisabeth Whitworth Scott was a British architect who designed the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon, England. This was the first important public building in Britain to be designed by a female architect....

, creating what we see on the riverside today. The new theatre, adjoining what was left of the old theatre, was opened by the Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

, later Edward VIII, in 1932.

The new theatre had many illustrious artistic directors, including the actor Anthony Quayle
Anthony Quayle
Sir John Anthony Quayle, CBE was an English actor and director.-Early life:Quayle was born in Ainsdale, Southport, in Lancashire to a Manx family....

.

Sir Peter Hall was appointed artistic director (designate) in 1959, and formed the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 1961.

Swan Theatre
Swan Theatre (Stratford)
The Swan Theatre is a theatre belonging to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It is built on to the side of the larger Royal Shakespeare Theatre, occupying the Victorian Gothic structure that formerly housed the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre that preceded the RST but was...

 was created in the 1980s out of the shell of the remains of the original Memorial Theatre, quickly becoming one of the finest acting spaces in the UK.

In 1986, Stratford-upon-Avon became home to the legendary but ill-fated Carrie
Carrie (musical)
Carrie: The Musical is a musical with a book by Lawrence D. Cohen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and music by Michael Gore. Adapted from Stephen King's novel Carrie, it focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by an oppressive religious fanatic mother...

.

The Waterside Theatre
Waterside Theatre
The Waterside Theatre was an independent theatre/arts venue in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.- History :The theatre has been part of the town for many years, once housing the town's first cinema. The building was also home to a visitor attraction, The World of Shakespeare...

 (which is not part of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre complex) re-opened in December 2004, then closed again in September 2008. During this span, the theatre housed the Shakespearience visitor attraction.

The town is located on the River Avon
River Avon, Warwickshire
The River Avon or Avon is a river in or adjoining the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in the Midlands of England...

 (afon or avon being a Celtic synonym of "river"), on a bank of which stands the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) designed by the English architect Elisabeth Scott
Elisabeth Scott
Elisabeth Whitworth Scott was a British architect who designed the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon, England. This was the first important public building in Britain to be designed by a female architect....

 and completed in 1932, which is the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Until recently the RSC also ran two smaller theatres, the Swan
Swan Theatre (Stratford)
The Swan Theatre is a theatre belonging to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It is built on to the side of the larger Royal Shakespeare Theatre, occupying the Victorian Gothic structure that formerly housed the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre that preceded the RST but was...

, which is modelled on an Elizabethan theatre (closed in August 2007 as part of plans for refurbishment) and The Other Place
The Other Place (theatre)
The Other Place was a black box theatre on Southern Lane, near to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It was owned and operated by the Royal Shakespeare Company....

 theatre, a Black box theatre which closed in 2005 to make room for the temporary RSC Courtyard Theatre, which opened in July 2006. This theatre is now the home of the RSC while the RST is being refurbished; its interior is similar to the planned interior of the refurbished RST. The site of The Other Place has now become the foyer, bars, cloakroom, dressing rooms, and rehearsal space of the Courtyard Theatre. The Other Place will be reinstated after the RST and Swan refurbishment is complete in 2010 and the Courtyard Theatre is dismantled, although many in the town would retain the Courtyard so that it can used by local theatre companies.

Other tourist attractions within the town include five houses relating to Shakespeare's life, which are owned and cared for by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is an independent registered educational charity based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, that came into existence in 1847 following the purchase of William Shakespeare's birthplace for preservation as a national memorial. It can also lay claim to be...

. These include Hall's Croft
Hall's Croft
Hall's Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, was owned by William Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna Hall, and her husband Dr John Hall whom she married in 1607....

 (the one-time home of Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna
Susanna Hall
Susanna Hall , née Shakespeare, was the eldest child of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, and the older sister of Judith Quiney and Hamnet Shakespeare...

, and her husband Dr. John Hall
John Hall (physician)
John Hall was a physician and son-in-law of William Shakespeare.-Life:He was born at Carlton, Bedfordshire and studied at Queens' College, Cambridge from 1589, receiving a B.A. in 1593 and a M.A. in 1597...

) and Nash's House
Nash's House
Nash's House, Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England is the house next door to the ruins and gardens of William Shakespeare's final residence, New Place. It has been converted into a museum. The museum traces the history of Stratford-upon-Avon from the earliest settlers in the...

, which stands alongside the site of another property, New Place
New Place
New Place is the name of William Shakespeare's final place of residence in Stratford-upon-Avon. He died there in 1616. Though the house no longer exists, the land is owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust....

, owned by Shakespeare himself, wherein he died. Near to the town are Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Anne Hathaway's Cottage is the former childhood home of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare. The house is situated in village of Shottery, Warwickshire, England, and about west of Stratford-upon-Avon....

 at Shottery
Shottery
Shottery is a small village a mile west of Stratford-Upon-Avon; nowadays, it is considered a part of the town, but it retains the feeling of a distinct village.-History and amenities:...

, the home of Shakespeare's wife
Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare)
Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare. They were married in 1582. She outlived her husband by seven years...

's family prior to her marriage, and Mary Arden's House (Palmer's Farm), the family home of his mother. Elsewhere in the district are farms and buildings at Snitterfield
Snitterfield
Snitterfield is a village and civil parish in the Stratford on Avon district of Warwickshire, England, less than a mile to the north of the A46 road, 4 ½ miles from Stratford upon Avon, 6 ½ miles from Warwick and from Coventry.-History:...

, that belonged to the family of Shakespeare's father.

At the top end of Waterside is Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
The Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon is a Grade I listed parish church of the Church of England in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.-Background:...

, where Shakespeare was baptised and is buried.

Non-Shakespearean attractions include the Stratford Butterfly Farm
Stratford Butterfly Farm
Stratford Butterfly Farm is a visitor attraction in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. A leafy tropical environment is simulated inside large greenhouses. There are numerous free flying butterflies, a few free flying birds, a pool containing fish, and running water...

, which is on the eastern side of the river and the Bancroft Gardens and Stratford Armouries
Stratford Armouries
Stratford Armouries is an Arms and Armour museum on the outskirts of the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon, most famous for being the birthplace of the playwright William Shakespeare...

 located three miles from the centre of Stratford on Gospel Oak Lane.

Each year on 12 October (unless this is a Sunday, in which case 11 October) Stratford hosts one of the largest Mop Fair
Mop Fair
Mop Fairs are a feature of many English towns and are traditionally held on or around "Old Michaelmas Day". They originated as a Hiring fair and their history dates back some 600 to 700 years.-History:...

s in the country. Then, on the second Saturday following, the smaller Runaway Mop fair is held.

Henley Street


Henley Street, one of the town's oldest streets, has undergone substantial architectural change between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. John Shakespeare
John Shakespeare
John Shakespeare was the father of William Shakespeare. He was the son of Richard Shakespeare of Snitterfield, a farmer. He moved to Stratford-upon-Avon and married Mary Arden, with whom he had eight children, five of whom survived into adulthood...

's large half-timbered
Timber framing
Timber framing , or half-timbering, also called in North America "post-and-beam" construction, is the method of creating structures using heavy squared off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs . It is commonplace in large barns...

 dwelling, purchased by him in 1556, was in 1564 the birthplace of his son William
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

. According to a descriptive placard provided for tourists there,
"The property remained in the ownership of Shakespeare's direct descendants until 1670, when his granddaughter, Elizabeth Barnard, died. As she had no children, Elizabeth left the estate to her relative Thomas Hart, Shakespeare's great-nephew. The main house became a tenanted inn called the Maidenhead (later the Swan and Maidenhead) following the death of John Shakespeare in 1601. Members of the Hart family continued living in the small adjoining cottage throughout the century."
At the end of the 19th century, Edward Gibbs 'renovated' the building to more closely represent the original Tudor
Tudor architecture
The Tudor architectural style is the final development of medieval architecture during the Tudor period and even beyond, for conservative college patrons...

 farmhouse. Adjacent to Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare's Birthplace is a carefully restored 16th century half-timbered house situated in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, where it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent his childhood years. It is now a small museum open to the public and is a...

 stands the Shakespeare Centre, completed in 1964 and not far from the Carnegie Library
Carnegie Library
Carnegie Library, Carnegie Public Library, Carnegie Free Library, Carnegie Free Public Library, Andrew Carnegie Library, Andrew Carnegie Free Library or Carnegie Library Building may refer to any of the following Carnegie libraries:- California :*Carnegie Library , listed on the National Register...

, opened in 1905.

The large half-timbered
Timber framing
Timber framing , or half-timbering, also called in North America "post-and-beam" construction, is the method of creating structures using heavy squared off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs . It is commonplace in large barns...

 building which now comprises numbers 17, 18 and 19 was formerly the White Lion Inn
White Lion Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon
The White Lion Inn was a public house located in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, an example of Elizabethan architecture that first appears in historical records in either 1541 or 1591. The building mentioned both by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Rupert Graves....

. It is first mentioned in 1603. and was adjoined on the east by a smaller inn called the 'Swan'. In 1745 the latter was purchased by John Payton, who also acquired the 'Lion' five years later and rebuilt the whole premises on a greatly enlarged scale. (Cal. of Trust Title Deeds, no. 147.) The work was completed by James Collins of Birmingham, builder, in 1753. (Contract, Trust Title Deeds, no. 167. Payton 'brought the house into great vogue' though Byng in 1792 complained that 'at the noted White Lion, I met with nothing but incivility' (cited from Torrington Diaries (ed. Andrews), iii, 152). Payton was succeeded as innkeeper by his son John, and its reputation as one of the best inns on the Holyhead road must have contributed not a little to the prosperity of the town. Garrick stayed at the 'White Lion' during the Jubilee of 1769 (Saunders MSS. 82, fol. 20) and George IV, as Prince Regent, visited it when he came to Stratford in 1806. Its great days came to an end after John Payton the younger sold it to Thomas Arkell in 1823.

Henley Street is now a major tourist and shopping precinct with many al fresco cafes and street entertainers.

Sheep Street


Sheep Street runs from Ely Street eastwards to the Waterside. It was a residential quarter in the 16th century, some of the buildings were rebuilt following the fire of 1595, although many, such as Number 40, date from 1480. Formerly a two storey building that was extended in the early twentieth century has a lower story of substantial close-set studding: the upper is of more widely spaced thin vertical timbers.

As the name suggests Sheep Street, which leads down from the Town Hall to Waterside and the RST, was from early times and until the late 19th century, the area where sheep, brought from the neighbouring Cotswold Hills, were slaughtered and butchered. Today it is the restaurant centre of the town. Sheep Street also has some long established ladies 'gown
Gown
A gown is a loose outer garment from knee- to full-length worn by men and women in Europe from the early Middle Ages to the 17th century ; later, gown was applied to any woman's garment consisting of a bodice and attached skirt.A long, loosely-fitted gown called a Banyan was worn by men in the 18th...

' shops.

The Shrieves House is one of the oldest still lived in houses in the town and Shakespeare is said to have based his character of Sir John Falstaff on one of the residents, his godson's uncle. Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 is thought to have stayed here in 1651. He wrote a letter from the town to Lord Wharton
Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton
Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton was an English peer.A Parliamentarian during the English Civil War, he served in various offices including soldier, politician and diplomat. He was appointed as the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire by Parliament in July 1642...

 on 27 August 1651, before the Battle of Worcester
Battle of Worcester
The Battle of Worcester took place on 3 September 1651 at Worcester, England and was the final battle of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians defeated the Royalist, predominantly Scottish, forces of King Charles II...

.

Behind The Shrieves House is a museum called "Tudor World" with recreations of 16th century life in theatrical settings.

Waterside & Southern Lane


This area of Stratford, which runs from the foot of Bridge Street to Holy Trinity Church (and leads directly off Sheep Street and Scholars Lane) runs alongside the River Avon and offers access to the Waterside Theatre
Waterside Theatre
The Waterside Theatre was an independent theatre/arts venue in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.- History :The theatre has been part of the town for many years, once housing the town's first cinema. The building was also home to a visitor attraction, The World of Shakespeare...

 and all areas of the RST. The RST is currently undergoing great renovation works, including work to the Bancroft Gardens at the front of the main RST building.

The Bancroft Gardens run from Waterside to the River Avon and include a canal basin. During the summer months there are often street performers performing to the public on the lawns.

Transport


Stratford is close to the UK's second largest city, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, and is easily accessible from junction 15 of the M40 motorway
M40 motorway
The M40 motorway is a motorway in the British transport network that forms a major part of the connection between London and Birmingham. Part of this road forms a section of the unsigned European route E05...

. The 7 miles (11.3 km) £12 million Stratford Northern Bypass opened in June 1987 as the A422.

Stratford-upon-Avon railway station
Stratford-upon-Avon railway station
Stratford-upon-Avon railway station is a railway station that serves the town of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England. It was once a through station on the Great Western Railway route from Birmingham to Cheltenham, but has been the terminus of the line since 1976.There are plans for a new...

 has good rail links from Birmingham (Snow Hill station
Birmingham Snow Hill station
Birmingham Snow Hill is a railway station and tram stop in the centre of Birmingham, England, on the site of an earlier, much larger station built by the former Great Western Railway . It is the second most important railway station in the city, after Birmingham New Street station...

, Moor Street station
Birmingham Moor Street railway station
Birmingham Moor Street railway station is one of three main railway stations in the city centre of Birmingham, England. The Grade II listed old station building has been partially renovated to its 1930s condition at a cost of £11 million....

) and from London, with up to seven direct trains a day from London Marylebone
Marylebone station
Marylebone station , also known as London Marylebone, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. It stands midway between the mainline stations at Euston and Paddington, about 1 mile from each...

.

There are plans for a new railway station north of the town, adjacent to the A46 bypass. It will be called Stratford Parkway railway station
Stratford Parkway railway station
Stratford Parkway is a prospective new parkway railway station at Bishopton in the north of Stratford-Upon-Avon, United Kingdom.It would be located on the Birmingham to Stratford Line, and would be adjacent to the A46 trunk road...

.

The Stratford on Avon and Broadway Railway
Stratford on Avon and Broadway Railway
The Stratford on Avon and Broadway Railway project aimed to re-open the closed railway from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire to Honeybourne railway station for main-line connection...

 Society aims to re-open the closed railway line from Stratford-upon-Avon to Honeybourne
Honeybourne railway station
Honeybourne railway station serves the village of Honeybourne in Worcestershire, England. It is on the Cotswold Line and was formerly a junction with four platforms.-History:...

, with a later extension to Broadway, Worcestershire
Broadway, Worcestershire
Broadway is a village and civil parish in the Worcestershire part of the Cotswolds in England.Often referred to as the "Jewel of the Cotswolds", Broadway village lies beneath Fish Hill on the western Cotswold escarpment...

.

The Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway
Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway
The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway was a small independent railway company which ran a line across the empty, untouched centre of England. It visited the counties of Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and a little of Buckinghamshire, only existing as the SMJR from 1909 to...

 connected Stratford with the main line of the London and North Western Railway
London and North Western Railway
The London and North Western Railway was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. It was created by the merger of three companies – the Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway...

 at Blisworth until its closure in 1952.

The town has numerous cycle paths, and is the terminus of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is a canal in the south Midlands of England.The canal, which was built between 1793 and 1816, runs for in total, and consists of two sections. The dividing line is at Kingswood Junction, which gives access to the Grand Union Canal...

 where it meets the Avon. A park and ride
Park and ride
Park and ride facilities are car parks with connections to public transport that allow commuters and other people wishing to travel into city centres to leave their vehicles and transfer to a bus, rail system , or carpool for the rest of their trip...

 scheme was launched in 2006. The Stratford Greenway is a 5 miles (8 km) traffic free cycle path, which used to be part of the rail network until the early 1960s and is now part of the Sustrans
Sustrans
Sustrans is a British charity to promote sustainable transport. The charity is currently working on a number of practical projects to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport, to give people the choice of "travelling in ways that benefit their health and the environment"...

 National Cycle Network
National Cycle Network
The National Cycle Network is a network of cycle routes in the United Kingdom.The National Cycle Network was created by the charity Sustrans , and aided by a £42.5 million National Lottery grant. In 2005 it was used for over 230 million trips.Many routes hope to minimise contact with motor...

 (routes NCN5 and NCN41). Starting from town it heads along the river and racecourse towards Welford-on-Avon and Long Marston
Long Marston, Warwickshire
Long Marston is a village about southwest of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England. The southern and western boundaries of the parish also form part of the county boundary with Worcestershire.-History:...

 with a cycle hire and cafe available at the start of the Greenway at Seven Meadows Road.

Birmingham airport is 18 miles (29 km) to the north-west, with scheduled flights to many national and international destinations.

Education


Stratford is also home to several institutions set up for the study of Shakespeare, including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is an independent registered educational charity based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, that came into existence in 1847 following the purchase of William Shakespeare's birthplace for preservation as a national memorial. It can also lay claim to be...

, which holds books and documents related to the playwright, and the Shakespeare Institute
Shakespeare Institute
The Shakespeare Institute is a centre for postgraduate study dedicated to the study of William Shakespeare and the literature of the English Renaissance. It is part of the University of Birmingham, and is located in Stratford-upon-Avon....

.

A notable school in Stratford is King Edward VI school
King Edward VI School Stratford-upon-Avon
King Edward VI School is a voluntary aided boys grammar school in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England...

, which is where William Shakespeare is believed to have studied. It is an all-boys school, and one of the few remaining grammar schools in England, selecting its pupils exclusively using the Eleven plus
Eleven plus
In the United Kingdom, the 11-plus or Eleven plus is an examination administered to some students in their last year of primary education, governing admission to various types of secondary school. The name derives from the age group for secondary entry: 11–12 years...

 examination. There is also an all-girls grammar school, Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls
Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls
Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls is a fully selective girls' grammar school in England situated close to Stratford-upon-Avon.-Admissions:...

, colloquially known as 'Shottery School' after its location in the village of Shottery
Shottery
Shottery is a small village a mile west of Stratford-Upon-Avon; nowadays, it is considered a part of the town, but it retains the feeling of a distinct village.-History and amenities:...

, a short distance from the town centre. Finally, there is a non-selective secondary school, Stratford-upon-Avon High School
Stratford-upon-Avon High School
Stratford-upon-AvonSchool is a state school that educates girls and boys, 11-18 year olds, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The High School teaches Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5...

, formerly known as the Hugh Clopton Secondary Modern School, which was demolished to make way for the new high school. There are no independent secondary schools in the town, but there are many primary schools, both state and independent, as well as Stratford-upon-Avon College
Stratford-upon-Avon College
Stratford-upon-Avon College is a further education college in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.It offers a wide variety of courses ranging from Pre-Entry Level to National Diplomas, A Levels and degree level courses.- History :...

.

Notable people


With the RSC in the town many famous actors have at some point lived or stayed in the town or surrounding villages. Some of these include,
  • William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

    , English playwright and poet.
  • Adrian Newey
    Adrian Newey
    Adrian Newey is a notable Formula One engineer and widely regarded one of the great engineers in the sport's history. He is the only designer to have won Constructors Championships with three different Formula One teams...

    , famous Formula 1 engineer.
  • George Macaulay Trevelyan
    G. M. Trevelyan
    George Macaulay Trevelyan, OM, CBE, FRS, FBA , was a British historian. Trevelyan was the third son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, and great-nephew of Thomas Babington Macaulay, whose staunch liberal Whig principles he espoused in accessible works of literate narrative avoiding a...

    , historian
  • Simon Pegg
    Simon Pegg
    Simon Pegg is an English actor, comedian, writer, film producer, and director. He is best known for having co-written and stared in various Edgar Wright features, mainly Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the comedy series Spaced.He also portrayed Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the 2009 Star Trek film...

    , actor, studied at Stratford-upon-Avon College
    Stratford-upon-Avon College
    Stratford-upon-Avon College is a further education college in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.It offers a wide variety of courses ranging from Pre-Entry Level to National Diplomas, A Levels and degree level courses.- History :...

     (was born in Gloucestershire, UK)
  • Jeffery Dench
    Jeffery Dench
    Jeffery Dench , is an actor who lives in Clifford Chambers near Stratford-upon-Avon. He is the older brother of actress Judi Dench.-Personal life:...

    , actor, lives just outside Stratford in Clifford Chambers
    Clifford Chambers
    Clifford Chambers is a village two miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on the B4632 and one mile south of the A3400. It consists of some 150 houses and the population of the parish in the 2001 census was 418. Until 2004 the village was in its own parish but it is now part of the...

  • David Bradley
    David Bradley (actor)
    David Bradley is an English character actor. He has recently become known for playing the caretaker of Hogwarts, Argus Filch, in the Harry Potter film franchise.-Life and career :...

    , actor known for his role in the Harry Potter
    Harry Potter
    Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

    films
  • Labour MP and actor Andrew Faulds
    Andrew Faulds
    Andrew Matthew William Faulds was a British actor and politician.Born in Isoko, Tanganyika , to missionary parents, Faulds married Bunty Whitfield in 1945...

     lived in Old Town, Stratford, until his death in 2000, aged 77


Other notable residents include
  • J. B. Priestley
    J. B. Priestley
    John Boynton Priestley, OM , known as J. B. Priestley, was an English novelist, playwright and broadcaster. He published 26 novels, notably The Good Companions , as well as numerous dramas such as An Inspector Calls...

     died here.
  • Arthur C. Clarke
    Arthur C. Clarke
    Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

    , author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, served with the RAF at Stratford-upon-Avon during the 1940s. Clarke later wrote the short story "The Curse", which takes place in a post-apocalyptic Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • Former Secretary of State for War John Profumo
    John Profumo
    Brigadier John Dennis Profumo, 5th Baron Profumo CBE , informally known as Jack Profumo , was a British politician. His title, 5th Baron, which he did not use, was Italian. Although Profumo held an increasingly responsible series of political posts in the 1950s, he is best known today for his...

     was the MP
    Member of Parliament
    A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

     for Stratford-upon-Avon in the 1950s.
  • From 1901 to 1924, the romantic novelist Marie Corelli
    Marie Corelli
    Marie Corelli was a British novelist. She enjoyed a period of great literary success from the publication of her first novel in 1886 until World War I. Corelli's novels sold more copies than the combined sales of popular contemporaries, including Arthur Conan Doyle, H. G...

    , real name Minnie Mackay, daughter of Charles Mackay
    Charles Mackay
    Charles Mackay was a Scottish poet, journalist, and song writer.-Life:Charles Mackay was born in Perth, Scotland. His father was by turns a naval officer and a foot soldier; his mother died shortly after his birth. Charles was educated at the Caledonian Asylum, London, and at Brussels, but spent...

    , made her home, with her companion Miss Vyver, at Mason's Croft, Church Street, Stratford.
  • English footballer Dion Dublin
    Dion Dublin
    Dion Dublin , is a retired English footballer. He was capped four times for England. Dublin started his career as a centre back with Norwich City, but made his name at Cambridge United as a goal-scoring centre forward. However, in his later years he showed his versatility by becoming an...

    , who has played for Manchester United, Aston Villa, and Coventry City, as well as the national team
    England national football team
    The England national football team represents England in association football and is controlled by the Football Association, the governing body for football in England. England is the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside Scotland, whom they played in the world's first...

    , lives with his wife and family in Stratford.
  • Simon Gilbert
    Simon Gilbert
    Simon Gilbert is an English drummer and member of the English band, Suede....

     & Neil Codling
    Neil Codling
    Neil John Codling is an English musician. He is best known as the keyboardist for the alternative rock band Suede.-Early life:...

     of the band Suede lived and were educated in Stratford.
  • Members of indie bands Klaxons
    Klaxons
    Klaxons are a British indie rock band, based in London. Following the release of numerous 7-inch singles on different independent record labels, as well as the success of previous singles "Magick" and "Golden Skans", the band released their debut album, Myths of the Near Future on 29 January 2007....

     and Pull Tiger Tail
    Pull Tiger Tail
    Pull Tiger Tail were an indie rock band based in London and originating from Stratford-upon-Avon and Edinburgh; they formed in 2006 while attending Goldsmiths College....

     all grew up and went to schools in Stratford before they moved to New Cross
    New Cross
    New Cross is a district and ward of the London Borough of Lewisham, England. It is situated 4 miles south-east of Charing Cross. The ward covered by London post town and the SE 14 postcode district. New Cross is near St Johns, Telegraph Hill, Nunhead, Peckham, Brockley, Deptford and Greenwich...

    , London.
  • W. W. Quatremain
    W. W. Quatremain
    William Wells Quatremain was an English artist who painted many oil and watercolour landscapes of Britain, many of which were also published as postcards....

    , local landscape painter
  • Gordon Ramsay
    Gordon Ramsay
    Gordon James Ramsay, OBE is a Scottish chef, television personality and restaurateur. He has been awarded 13 Michelin stars....

    , noted celebrity chef, and star of several cooking related shows, moved to Stratford-Upon-Avon with his family in 1976 when he was ten years old.
  • Brad Moran
    Brad Moran (footballer)
    Bradley "Brad" Moran is a former Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League.-Early life:...

    , grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon then moved to Australia when he was 15, he is now an Australian Rules Football
    Australian rules football
    Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, also called football, Aussie rules or footy is a sport played between two teams of 22 players on either...

    er with the Adelaide Crows
    Adelaide Crows
    The Adelaide Football Club, nicknamed The Crows, is a professional Australian rules football club based in Adelaide, South Australia, playing in the Australian Football League ....

    .
  • Andrew Pozzi
    Andrew Pozzi
    Andrew William Pozzi is a British hurdling athlete who specialises in the 110 metres hurdles. He is the current UK U20 champion and holds the record for the fastest ever time ran by a UK junior hurdler...

    , 110m hurdler born in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • Author Julia Suzuki
    Julia Suzuki
    Julia Suzuki is a businesswoman, former model and author of The Land of Dragor series of children's books.-Early life:Julia Suzuki grew up in Fazeley, Staffordshire on an estate adjacent to Drayton Manor Theme Park. While at secondary school she faced challenges from other pupils and shyness...

     works and lives in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Town twinning

Stratford, Ontario
Stratford, Ontario
Stratford is a city on the Avon River in Perth County in southwestern Ontario, Canada with a population of 32,000.When the area was first settled by Europeans in 1832, the townsite and the river were named after Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It is the seat of Perth County. Stratford was...

 Stratford, Prince Edward Island
Stratford, Prince Edward Island
Stratford is a Canadian suburban town located in central Prince Edward Island.It is situated on a peninsula formed by the Hillsborough River estuary, Charlottetown Harbour, and Hillsborough Bay - a sub-basin of the Northumberland Strait....

 Stratford, New Zealand
Stratford, New Zealand
Stratford is the only town in the central Taranaki district of Stratford District, New Zealand. It lies beneath the eastern slopes of Mount Taranaki/Egmont, approximately half-way between New Plymouth and Hawera, near the geographic centre of the Taranaki region. The town has a population of...

 Doha, Qatar Stratford, Connecticut
Stratford, Connecticut
Stratford is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States, located on Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Housatonic River. It was founded by Puritans in 1639....


External links