THE DOORS will shortly be re-opening on one of Stratford’s landmark buildings.
Harvard House – owned by the famous American university – has only been open to the public on a handful of days during the past four years.
But the sixteenth century townhouse, cared for by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), will welcome visitors again from November 10.
The closure of the grade I-listed building on High Street prompted criticism from townspeople who accused tourist chiefs of neglecting one of the town’s main assets.
Previously known as ‘the Ancient House’, the black and white timber-frame Harvard House was built in 1596 by wealthy townsman Thomas Rogers, whose grandson founded Harvard University.
Visitors will be able to learn more about the history of the house, get a sense of how wealthy Elizabethan townsfolk lived, and find out more about the American connection.
The house is home to an array of 16th century oak furniture that would be typical in a house of such wealth and social standing, including a rare ball-turned armchair, a late-16th century chest with carved decorations, and an unusual carved corner stool.
Also on display is a tapestry panel which depicts the biblical story of Joseph, thought to have been made in Barcheston in Warwickshire in the late 1500s.
Philippa Rawlinson, SBT head of operations, said: “Harvard House is a stunning example of the town’s Elizabethan architecture.
“This is an opportunity for visitors to discover what lies behind the beautifully carved façade, and come away with an appreciation for the wonderful history and heritage that’s on our doorstep.”
Harvard House will open a week after nearby Nash’s House and New Place close for conservation work.
he conservation work at Nash’s House is part of a project to redevelop New Place as a unique heritage landmark to tell the story of Shakespeare’s final years as a writer and citizen of Stratford.
Harvard House will be open daily from 11am to 4pm during the winter. Visit www.shakespeare.org.uk for further details.