On this day in history : 16th September 1847 – The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust buys the house in which playwright William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, for £3,000….

The timbered house situated on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, is believed to be where Shakespeare was born in 1564 and where he spent his childhood….

It is thought the building dates to the 1400s…. At the time of Shakespeare’s birth his father was renting the house but ten years later was in a position to buy it along with another property in Henley Street…. The house remained in the family until 1806 when it was sold to Thomas Court, a butcher….

In the following years the house fell into disrepair – but interest in it sparked again when writers such as Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, Isaac Watts and Thomas Carlyle visited, wanting to see Shakespeare’s birthplace….

1769 engraving of Shakespeare’s birthplace from Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1769 – Public domain

The house was put up for sale in 1846 – American showman P.T.Barnum planned to buy it and ship it back to the United States, where he intended to have it rebuilt…. To prevent this from happening the Shakespeare Birthday Committee was formed and with the help of the likes of Dickens the necessary £3,000 to buy it was raised – and restoration work began…. The committee later became the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust….

Nowadays Shakespeare’s birthplace is a museum and popular tourist attraction – it is often referred to as ‘a mecca for all lovers of literature’….

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