CONSERVATION work is under way at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford and visitors are invited to take a look.
A series of special tours are taking place around the historic home looked after by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which will give people the chance to see conservation-in-action.
The conservation project is designed to future-proof the building, in Henley Street, and is taking place throughout the first half of January.
The Birthplace will be closed during this time for normal visits but the conservation tours will be available instead.
Rachael O’Boyd, SBT’s Director of Visitor Experience and Business Development, said: “As the very start of Shakespeare’s story, we want to ensure the Birthplace is accessible as possible throughout the year. However, we also have the responsibility to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to explore this historic national monument.
“So, working closely with our specialist conservation team we have developed these exclusive tours that explore the necessity of ongoing conservation efforts in a changing world.”
Indeed, it is this focus on access that spurred the Trust to organise the conservation tours – offered to individual visitors and group bookings throughout the two-week period of the works, whilst the Birthplace is closed.
The tours, which will be limited to 20 participants per session and led by a guide, are being advertised as “an intimate exploration of the property”. Attendees will have the opportunity to discover the history of the building as well as discover more about the conservation works and speak to members of the team who are doing the work.
Works being undertaken during the conservation period include:
– Creation of a French drain dug around the rear and side elevations of the Birthplace to improve drainage of the blue lias plinth, helping to speed up the drying process during the more regular periods of intense rainfall
– Decorating the Glover’s Workshop following previous conservation works on the chimney
– Inspection and re-fixing of the flooring across the Birthplace, both floorboards and stone slabs
– Ongoing plaster repairs across the building
– Removing the wall hangings for repair and re-application of fire-retardant spray
Mark Ratcliffe, SBT Head of Estates, continued: “The majority of the works taking place are linked to the building’s place as one of the most popular historic properties in the country. A lot of what we are doing is repairing wear and tear from welcoming millions of visitors over the years.
“Just think about how many pairs of shoes have walked on the floors in the building. We are also ensuring that the building is protected from our changing climate, with more focus on drainage from excess rainfall and storms. I know the team is looking forward to sharing their stories with visitors.”
It is also expected that members of the Trust’s curatorial team will be inspecting items including furniture throughout the conservation period and will be on hand to answer any questions.
Conserving Shakespeare’s Birthplace tours take place between 10am and 1pm from today (Friday) until Friday January 13. Tickets are limited to 20 per tour and are available to buy online at www.shakespeare.org.uk.