The Old Shakespeare
Memorial Theatre
Stratford-upon-Avon - Theatre
A super old postcard of the Old Theatre from about 1916. The artist was W W Quartremain.  
The original proposal that Stratford should honour the memory of its greatest son by building a theatre
seems to have been made after the centenary celebrations in 1864. In due course a Shakespeare
Memorial Association was formed and plans were drawn up for a theatre, picture gallery and library to
be built on the banks of the Avon on land donated by Charles Flower, a local brewer. The Shakespeare
Memorial Theatre opened on April 19th, 1879, the first performance being "Much Ado About Nothing" -
not "Hamlet" as had been planned. There was initially a Spring Festival of the bard's plays, which ran
for three weeks. In 1910 a Summer Festival was added, lasting another month. These festivals ran until
1916, when they were suspended until after the war. In the 1920s they were extended further, and
attendances increased - in fact so successful were they that in 1925 hundreds of people were unable to
obtain tickets.  But in March on
this link to see what happened.
Stratford-upon-Avon, Memorial Theatre
Stratford Theatre
          Two undated postcards from the early 20th Century.
A nice, reflective view from around 1910.
Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford Theatre
A rather strange postcard of the Old Theatre produced by a reliable
company, Harvey Barton and Son of Bristol. Although fairly accurate,
it doesn't really look like the same building !
Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
A lovely, clear postcard from the Edwardian era.    
Gower Memorial
This postcardof the Gower Memorial was
mailed in 1906.
Prince Hal
When the new theatre was built, the Gower
Memorial was relocated to its present site in
the Bancroft near the road. During the war,
the smaller statues saw a bit of action. The
Americans and Canadians,  stationed in
Stratford or at Wellesbourne,  and the
soldiers from Long Marston, used to get
drunk in Bird's, the Anchor, the George and
other establishments, and on several
occasions statues were painted and chucked
in the basin ! I can remember my mum taking
me to see one being pulled out - this would
have been 1943-ish. This postcard is from
1911, so well before Prince Hal's swimming
days !
Bridge and Theatre, Stratford
Look at the stone-work in the bridge ! A
complete contrast to the theatre.
The "Black Swan", or "Dirty Duck" as it is known locally, is one of
Stratford's most famous and frequented pubs. It is situated just across
the road from the theatre gardens.
Theatre and River, Stratford-upon-Avon
Interior, Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
This clear view makes the river look very wide.    
An interior view which illustrates just how intimate (small !) the old
auditorium was !
Theatre and River Avon, Stratford
Old Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
A postcard from the early 1900s in the Raphael Tuck "Oilette" series.
"Stratford-on-Avon is famous the world over as the birthplace of
William Shakespeare, the great poet and dramatist. A large Gothic
building, after designs by W F Unsworth, has been erected to his
memory on the river banks. The building comprises a theatre, library,
picture gallery and large central tower, from the summit of which a
fine general view of the town is obtained."        
An undated postcard by Raphael Tuck.    
A couple of nice views - unfortunately the postcards are of indifferent quality.
An unused postcard - so no date !   
Gower Memorial
Another nice postcard of the Gower
Memorial, at that time by the Old Theatre.   
Two more undated postcards of the Old Theatre.
Two views of the theatre and the bridge.
Postcards of the Past
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Birthday Card - Stratford-upon-Avon, KES
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Birthday Card - Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
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