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Stratford-on-Avon

Stratford-on-Avon, district (2001 pop. 111,484), Warwickshire, central England, on the Avon River. The town and former borough of Stratford-upon-Avon is the administrative seat of the district, which also includes towns of Alcester, Shipston-on-Stour, and Southam.

Stratford-upon-Avon, a market town with light industries, owes its fame to its associations with William Shakespeare. A gabled building on Henley St., believed to be the poet's birthplace, is open to the public. The site of the home he purchased in 1597, and where he died in 1616, is marked (the building having been torn down in 1759). His grave is beside that of his wife, Anne Hathaway (whose home, "Anne Hathaway's Cottage," is near Stratford), in the old Church of the Holy Trinity. The church has a bust and memorial to the poet and a stained-glass window (given by Americans in 1885) depicting Shakespeare's "seven ages of man."

The town's principal memorial is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where annual Shakespeare festivals are held. The first theater, built in the late 19th cent., was destroyed by fire in 1926, but the attached gallery, library, and museum were saved. The current theater was dedicated as the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1932; it was extensively redesigned and renovated in 2007–10. The Royal Shakespeare Company operates several venues in Stratford, including the Swan Theatre.

Most of the structures and places in Stratford connected with the life of Shakespeare were acquired by the nation in the 19th cent. Edward VI's Grammar School, which Shakespeare may have attended, is national property. Shakespeare scholars from all over the world attend the Shakespeare Institute of the Univ. of Birmingham. In 1964 the Shakespeare Centre was established on Henley St. in Stratford.

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Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon. Birthplace of Shakespeare. For many years after the death of Shakespeare in 1616, Stratford, originally where a Roman road crossed the river, remained a small Warwickshire market town and route centre. It was known for its fair in September and for its fine late 15th-cent. bridge. It suffered considerably from fires in 1594, 1595, and 1614. The event which put it on the map was Garrick's Shakespeare Jubilee of 1769 which, though nearly washed away by rain, attracted great attention. Present places of pilgrimage include the birthplace in Henley Street, the grammar school, Anne Hathaway's cottage at Shottery, and Holy Trinity church, where Shakespeare is buried and commemorated in an unimaginative monument. New Place, which he purchased in 1597, was subsequently pulled down, and a museum has now been erected on the site. The first Memorial theatre, completed in 1879, was destroyed by fire in 1926 and replaced by the present building in 1932.

J. A. Cannon

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Stratford upon Avon

Stratford upon Avon Town in Warwickshire, central England. Stratford upon Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and home of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Industries: tourism, engineering, boatbuilding, textiles. Pop. (1992) 22,800.

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Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon a town in Warwickshire, on the River Avon, famous as the birth and burial place of William Shakespeare, which is also the site of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

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Stratford-upon-Avon

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