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Thursday, 1 March 2018

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON: THE BIRTHPLACE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


(The Façade of the restored 16th-century 2 storey house of
England's National Poet and the "Bard of Avon", William Shakespeare)

I felt the sudden rush of cold in my body and it gave me chills...

It was the itsy-bitsy raindrops first before the imposing cottony snow flakes came to the scene. Thereupon, the frigid condition and the pearly appearance of snow materialised on my way out of the busy London; I was heading up to the green fields of West Midlands. Coincidentally, as I was on the train zooming its way up, the nippy condition outside was getting extreme. As a result, the unexpected chill was gently creeping inside the carriage through the glass clear windows.

From my seat I felt the developing cold and when I looked outside, the snowfall was getting substantial and thicker. Delightfully speaking, it resulted to the unveiling of a vast field blanketed in accumulated white flurry snow. Then, I became less fidgety on the train as the feeling of the shivery winter season was intensely sensed by my delicate skin. Consequently, I whispered in my mind and I quote, “this isn't the weather condition I'm expecting. I'm anticipating the warm breeze of fresh Spring slapping on my face. Then, I breathed out heavily with a tight hug of my shawl wrapped around me”.

I arrived on time at my destination and the night after...

On my second day in West Midlands, we routed down miles away by car onto the motorway and headed into the abyss of Stratford-upon-Avon. My usual habit of taking pictures of the outside surroundings, whilst in the car, on our way to Stratford-upon-Avon was apprehended by the weather condition. It should have been a great journey on the road if I were able to take a few snaps of the boundless calm fields. We were all snugly wrapped-up as the intermittent presence of sunshine didn't grace my visit. Promptly, we arrived at our destination in the county of Warwickshire, England and were resolute to enjoy exploring the market town village under the steadily drizzly weather condition. It was snowy cold yet a sensationally refreshing jaunt!

The gently sprinkling of fine drops were subsiding when we approached one of the specific access avenues at the town centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. It was called Henley Street which had an elongated road with architecturally levelled cobblestones, low kerbs and flat pavements (making the whole town wheelchair-friendly). It was bordered and brightened up with diverse low-rise buildings which were occupied by their preserved local stores and the pervasive chains of commercial shops. Moreover, it also served as the alternate passageway to Windsor Street or onto the roundabout for Union Street, Bridge Street, High Street and Wood Street. Yes, there were lots of street names to guide you and for you to memorise, too!
(The Erected Visitors Guide Map)
(The Henley Street)

From the ingress of Henley Street, I easily noticed a restored 2-storey rectangular house with a sturdy pitched gable intersecting roof and contemporary loop level spear top metal fence. Historically speaking, the house was built in 16th-century using the traditional half-timbered method and constructed in wattled and daud around a wooden frame. To be more specific, the façade of the house had a woven lattice of wooden strips infixed with a combined sticky material of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw. For the past years or ever since it was owned and managed by the Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust, this eminent house has been a small museum open to the public and a popular visitor attraction. Moreover, it has been acknowledged as a Mecca for all lovers of literature for it's believed to be the Birthplace of England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", William Shakespeare.

In spite of the fact that the renowned Shakespeare's Birthplace is a small museum open to the public, the out-and-out admission is still not free of charge. When we decided to explore the innermost Birthplace of England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", William Shakespeare, we bought upfront our Shakespeare's Birthplace Adult Tickets. Customarily speaking, the ticket itself gave us an entire access from the interesting museum at Shakespeare's Centre; the spruced-up tender rear garden; a significant snoop of Joan Hart's Cottage on the ground floor of the house; the innermost of the main restored 2-storey rectangular house of William Shakespeare and his family; the added 17th century rear wing and ending up to the matter-of-fact detached Gift Shop.
(William Shakespeare's Phrases and Sayings)
(The 1988 Oil in Canvas of William Shakespeare in the Globe Theatre by Philip Sutton, R.A.)

(William Shakespeare Life's Chart and Family Tree)
(The Parlour on the Ground Floor of the Restored House)
(The Dining Area with the Corner Fireplace on the Ground Floor of the Restored House)
(The Childhood Bedroom with a Chimney of William Shakespeare
on the First Floor of the Restored House)
(The Birthroom Window with Henry Irving's Name
on the First Floor of the Restored House)
(The Adequate Room on the Second (Attic) Floor of the Restored House)
(William Shakespeare's Parents, John and Mary, Bedroom on the First Floor of the Restored House)
(The First Floor in the Rear Wing of the Restored House)
(The Door on the Ground Floor in the Rear Wing of the Restored House)
(The Fireplace on the Ground Floor in the Rear Wing of the Restored House)
(The Food Storage Room on the Ground Floor in the Rear Wing of the Restored House)
(The Tender Rear Garden in the Rainy Day)
(The Back End Perspective of William Shakespeare's Birthplace
with the Angular View of the Rear Wing)
(The Detached Gift Shop of Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust
and the Souvenir Coin)

The modern Shakespeare's Centre greeted us with noticeable phrases & sayings onto the walls and warmly took us back in time by featuring his creative collections of plays, sonnets and poems. It also gave us an insight into his colourful theatre life on a canvas painting and communicated to us through the detailed summary of his life's chart.

Personally speaking, when I stepped in at the centre I thought that it was a terrible enterprise in acknowledging the life of William Shakespeare and where he lived. It was indeed a radically designed contrast to the adjacent well-preserved 16th-century half timbered house. However, the succinct state-of-the-art approach in establishing how William Shakespeare became England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" turned out to be brilliantly and symmetrically beautiful!

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