A MULTI-MILLION pound transformation of New Place is a step closer after the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust won a lottery grant.
Work on the £5.25 million makeover is on schedule to begin in March 2015 after the Trust was awarded a £1.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Trust wants to complete the transformation at the site of Shakespeare’s last home ahead of the 400th anniversary of his death next April.
It will include a new illuminated pool at the heart of the site surrounded by new paths engraved with names of the plays, a new entrance on what was the original gatehouse and further work to the gardens and neighbouring Nash’s House.
Trust chief executive, Diana Owen, said the grant would help New Place become a ‘jewel in the crown’ for literary and cultural heritage in the UK.
Shea said: “Our ambition, quite simply, is to create a place where visitors’ imaginations can soar as Shakespeare’s did.
“This is the biggest single Shakespearean project to commemorate 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016 and we look forward to welcoming visitors next year and for centuries to come.
“I would like to thank the community in Stratford, and everyone who has lent their support and involvement in developing our plans to put Shakespeare’s New Place at the epicentre of the story of Shakespeare the writer and citizen of Stratford.
“We look forward to working with all our supporters to develop volunteering and educational programmes and other opportunities to release the full potential of New Place.”
Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi welcomed the news.
He said: “New Place is a part of the Shakespeare story we hear less often. It’s the story of a Warwickshire grammar school boy made good, having made his name and fortune in the big city turning back to the small town he loved. That’s all the more reason to tell it.
“Having followed this project since its early days and having supported the Trust’s grant application, it’s fantastic to see the Heritage Lottery Fund award £1.8 million. This is great news for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and for Stratford as a whole.”