Stratford-upon-Avon (/-ˈeɪvən/), commonly known as just Stratford, city (parish), Stratford-on-Avon District, Warwickshire, central England, an administrative and historic county, and William Shakespeare’s birthplace. It is a town and civil parish within the Stratford-on-Avon District, within the county of Warwickshire, England, on the River Avon, 91 miles (146 km) northwest of London, 22 miles (35 km) southeast of Birmingham, and eight miles (13 km) southwest of Warwick. For hundreds of years a rustic town, it became a serious British tourist center due to its associations with Shakespeare.

(Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford)

The first Stratfordians were the Anglian Tribe the Hwiccas (a Germanic tribe which settled after the Romans). Their settlement was incorporated into the Angelo-Saxon Kingdom around the sixth century, explaining “Stratford-upon-Avon” Saxon entomology. Located near Stratford, the Cotswolds was a major sheep-producing region up until the later part of the 19th century, with Stratford one of the key centers for sheep and wool production, marketing, and distribution. Thus, during the 15th–17th centuries, Stratford also became a tanning center. The town acted as trading routes for both the river and the Roman road. Stratford-upon-Avon stands where the Avon River (Upper Avon) was forded by a Roman road, and a 19th-century bridge still spans the river alongside an arched stone bridge from the 15th century. It issued the first Royal Charter in 1553.

(The Royal Shakespeare Theatre)

Shakespeare was born in 1564 in a very half-timbered house on Henley Street. All of the historic sites related to Shakespeare are often visited in an exceedingly day. There’s his birthplace, now a museum, his bride Anne Hathaway’s cottage at nearby Shottery, and his mother Mary Arden’s Tudor Farm, faithfully restored. Stratford itself is stuffed with typical black and white English-Gothic architecture. In 1769 the actor David Garrick staged three days of a massive Shakespeare Jubilee that saw the building of a large rotunda and the influx of many tourists. This contributed to the rising Bardolatry phenomenon which turned Stratford into a tourist destination.

Despite its rise in trade, however, between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, Stratford barely grew geographically. People should not underestimate the impact of the Civil War in England. Physically, over the course of the war, Stratford remained largely intact (except for the Town Hall). But bypassing troops, minor skirmishes, and local divisions the townspeople nevertheless suffered from the lootings. In their neighboring parishes, they experienced violent altercations too.

(The River Avon – view from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre)

Stratford’s warmest month is July, with an average maximum temperature of 22.8 °C (73 °F) and January is the coldest month with an average high of 7.4 °C (45 °F). The average summer maximum temperature is 22.7 °C (73 °F), with a winter average high of 7.5 °C (45 °F). A variety of changes to Stratford’s infrastructure were made throughout the nineteenth century. A canal opened in 1816, gaslight was introduced in 1834 and in the 1850s a sewage network arrived, in 1859 a railway station arrived, and in 1887 a drinking fountain in Rothermarket. These new facilities meant increasing the quality of life, as did the opportunity for trade and commerce.

Not only was Stratford now open to visitors, but the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was building cultural resources to attract them. By the water, the Shakespeare Center collection of modern buildings comprises a library and art gallery (opened in 1881) and a theater (opened in 1932). On April 23rd, the date of Shakespeare’s death and, roughly, of his birth, is celebrated annually in Stratford-upon – Avon, and each year, from March to October, there is a festival where his plays are performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theater. Harvard House sits on 26 High Street. Other attractions include the Stratford Butterfly Farm, situated on the eastern side of the river, and the Bancroft Gardens and Stratford Armouries, 3 miles (4.8 km) from Stratford’s center on Gospel Oak Lane.

Stratford’s visitor attractions continued to expand in the 20th century with the Trust’s continued growth. Now after London Stratford is the second most visited location in the UK. On 12th October each year (unless this is a Sunday, in which case 11th October), Stratford hosts one of the country’s largest mop fairs. Smaller Runaway fair is held ten days later.


Information Sources:

  3. wikipedia