Stratford upon Avon

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Coordinates: 52 ° 12 ′  N , 1 ° 43 ′  W

Map: United Kingdom
Stratford upon Avon
United Kingdom
Stratford-upon-Avon, historic buildings
Bridge of the former Stratford and Moreton Tramway over the River Avon
The Jester , sculpture by James Walter Butler

Stratford-upon-Avon [ ˌstrætfərd əˌpɒn ˈeɪvən ] is a town in the English county of Warwickshire . The nearby city of Birmingham has a population of around 23,700 (2001) and is the administrative seat of the similarly sounding district of Stratford-on-Avon . Stratford is best known as the birthplace and death place of William Shakespeare . In addition to some industries, such as aluminum processing and boat building, the city is above all an important tourist center.


The name Stratford comes from the Anglo-Saxon : strete ford means road ford and refers to the place where the road crossed the Avon in Roman times . In 1196 the Bishop of Worcester founded a city there and granted it royal market rights. At the time of Shakespeare, Stratford had about 800 inhabitants. When the plague broke out in 1675, 238 people died. For a long time this meant the decline of the city. It was not raised again in the consciousness of the English population until after 1760, when the famous actor David Garrick organized a three-day memorial service there in honor of Shakespeare. He also helped fund the construction of the town hall in 1767, which he named Shakespeare Hall . With the expansion of rail traffic and other traffic routes in the 19th century, Stratford developed into a major tourist center.


The city is visited by over two million people annually. The main attractions are the sites that have a - even if only vague - reference to Shakespeare and his work.

Above all, the presumed birthplace of the poet on Henley Street . At least one "William Shakespeare" was born here in 1564, whose father John Shakespeare had his workshop here. It dates from the early 16th century and is an example of a typical English middle class house of the time. It is a half-timbered house with wooden beams painted brown, the gaps filled with wickerwork and clay. The building has been well restored and is open to the public, inside you will find furnishings from the Elizabethan period , but not a single part that really belonged to Shakespeare.

The Grammar School in Church Lane existed since the 15th century, and it is very likely, though certainly that William Shakespeare was not a pupil there. As the son of a well-respected citizen of the city ( John Shakespeare was a councilor in Stratford, among others), it is hard to imagine that he should not have gone to school. However, there are no longer any relevant school documents.

In the street Old Town is Hall's Croft , a picturesque old half-timbered house, which formerly Dr. Belonged to John Hall , Shakespeare's son-in-law.

New Place , the house on Chapel Street that Shakespeare bought with his not inconsiderable fortune in 1597, no longer stands. It was torn down by its owner at the time in 1759 because he felt harassed by the crowds of curious visitors. Today tourists can only visit the garden, in which the foundations of the house can still be seen.

Within a small cemetery on the outskirts of Stratford is the Holy Trinity Church with Shakespeare's grave, a memorial stone and a stone bust. In the vicinity of his grave is also the final resting place of the German writer Hans Rothe , who u. a. has translated all of Shakespeare's works into German.

More Shakespeare memorials are located near the site. Anne Hathaway ’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s wife’s birthplace, is in the small village of Shottery , a mile outside Stratford, and his mother’s Mary Arden’s home in Wilmcote is three miles away.

An important recent building is the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Theater , built in 1932 under the name Shakespeare Memorial Theater and renamed in 1961. It stands on the banks of the River Avon and is the headquarters of the Royal Shakespeare Company .


The Industrial Revolution had made the area around Birmingham one of the most important industrial areas in England. One reason for this was the wealth of natural resources, especially hard coal . For the transport of goods, a wide network of was in 1800 Narrowboat - channels built. The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal , completed in 1816 , enabled Stratford to connect to the River Avon .

The Stratford and Moreton Tramway was built between 1821 and 1826; it connected the end of the Stratford-on-Avon Canal in Stratford with Moreton-in-Marsh . In 1836 a branch line to Shipston-on-Stour was also opened. Originally it was a pure horse-drawn tram . The section between Moreton and Shipston was converted to steam operation in 1889. Operations on the remainder of the Stratford stretch ceased in the early 20th century.

About ten kilometers north of Stratford-upon-Avon runs the M40 Motorway , with which the town is connected via the A46 trunk road. Stratford-upon-Avon can be reached by rail through Central Trains from Birmingham and Chiltern Railways from London. The place is also connected to the extensive English narrowboat canal system, which today is primarily used for recreational boating.

Twin cities

sons and daughters of the town

Web links

Commons : Stratford-upon-Avon  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. ARD radio play database, on the page on the radio play Shakespeare's journeyman by Karl Karst from 1994, accessed on January 12, 2018
  3. ^ History of the RSC