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The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust collection is moving from Henley Street to new location at Avenue Farm

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust collection is moving from Henley Street to a new location.

A new more modern space on the Avenue Farm industrial development will house the trust’s archive, including library and museum items relating to Shakespeare and Stratford, with some items dating back to the 12th century. However Henley Street will still remain a visitor centre, attracting tourists from around the world.

It is hoped the project to move the collection will start in spring and progressed later this year. In the meantime the Reading Room at Henley Street remains operational for now, although there will be disruption to the service when it gets under way.

Prince Charles visiting the SBT collection in 1995.
Prince Charles visiting the SBT collection in 1995.

The trust has promised that the new development will improve public access to the collection and archive with new research facilities at Avenue Farm, and an increased capacity for researchers compared to what is currently available.

Avenue Farm will be more accessible for visitors with specific mobility needs, including allocated parking spaces outside and near the building.

Paul Taylor, head of museum and curatorial services, said: ““Since the completion of the Shakespeare Centre in 1964, we have stored our extensive collection of material connected to the life, times and works of William Shakespeare and the history of Stratford-upon-Avon and South Warwickshire within the collections store of the building. While the collections continue to be well maintained and conserved, there are challenges around the space and overall condition of the Shakespeare Centre.

SBT Records Office move. Photo: Mark Williamson
SBT Records Office move. Photo: Mark Williamson

As these issues will take time to be resolved, we have been exploring alternative sites to store the collection so that repair and restoration work can take place at the Shakespeare Centre.”

Rachael North, director of museum and public programmes, added: “Avenue Farm gives us the opportunity to engage, meaningfully, with a wider audience and share our world-class collection. Both the accessibility of the building and the opportunities to develop new research facilities so that we can truly create something that suits the needs of current audiences as well as the audiences of the future.

“This is an exciting, expansive and impactful project and we look forward to working with our partners across Stratford and beyond as we develop a leading collections access programme.”

See next week’s Herald for full story on the move and the collection.

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