The Stratford-upon-Avon home in which William Shakespeare lived for the last 19 years of his life, and wrote some of his greatest works, will reopen tomorrow as Shakespeare’s New Place, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust‘s newest attraction.
Shakespeare bought New Place in 1597, after finding fame and fortune in London. It was a family home and it was where he wrote 26 of his plays. It was also in New Place that the playwright died in 1616, 400 years ago this year.
At New Place, visitors will be able to follow in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new entrance on the site of the original gatehouse and enjoy a contemporary landscape that reveals the footprint of the Shakespeare family home. The re-imagined site gives an impression of the scale of New Place and relationship to the surrounding buildings; such as the neighbouring King Edward VI School and Guild Chapel that were once attended by a young Shakespeare.
Commissioned artworks and displays throughout the site will evoke a sense of family life and hint at Shakespeare’s major works that were written during the 19 years he owned New Place.
The sunken Knot Garden is being restored in keeping with the original design by Ernest Law. Elements of the Great Garden, the largest surviving part of Shakespeare’s estate, will be conserved and further developed over time.
Watch Shakespeare’s New Place video for more.
What happened to Shakespeare’s New Place?
The original New Place was pulled down in 1759 by clergyman, Rev. Francis Gastrell, who wanted to avoid paying council tax, and a garden in honour of Shakespeare has stood there virtually ever since. Although the land cannot be built upon, researchers were able to excavate it and their findings have informed the retelling of the house in a new exhibition space that has been built on the side of Nash’s House, which backs on to the New Place site.
The New Place site itself has been transformed into a wonderful garden. Visitors will enter through a new threshold on the spot of the original gatehouse and there will be specially commissioned artworks and displays throughout, which hope to evoke a sense of Shakespeare’s genius, as well as give insight into his personal life.