William Shakespeare is honoured as the greatest writer in the English language. Not surprisingly, there are memorial and reminders of Shakespeare all around London.
Here is Shakespeare on the old City of London School which is an amazing building with lots of statues of famous figures from the past including Sir Isaac Newton, John Milton, Francis Bacon and Sir Thomas More.
No doubt they were put there to inspire the students.
I wonder if they ever noticed them.
This wonderful building on the River Thames at Blackfriars looks like a Parisian city palace.
It now houses offices for J.P. Morgan, the American investment bank.
Libraries are perfect places to find portraits of literary giants.
Here are some on the old Westminster Public Library on Great Smith Street.
Shakespeare is between Cervantes and Dante.The portrait below is also in Westminster. It’s on Caxton Hall, which was the old Westminster Town Hall. It combines those little putti that the Victorians loved and the historical superstars.This small portrait of Shakespeare (below) is on the
Holborn Town Hall and Library at High Holborn.
And here’s his bust in the place of honour on the pediment of the Wyndham Theatre. At a corner of Carnaby Street William Shakespeare looks down front a little window onto the passing crowds from the Shakespeare Arms pub. Here’s the pub sign – William has his quill in hand and looks like he is dreaming up his next blockbuster!Now to be a little more serious –This bust of William Shakespeare is in a small garden near Guildhall where the church of St. Mary Aldermanbury used to stand. It isn’t actually in memory of Shakespeare…
It’s dedicated to the memory of John Heminge and Henry Condell, who collected 36 of Shakespeare’s plays and published them together in the “First Folio”.
Many of the plays were published for the first time in the “First Folio”, saving them for posterity.
William Shakespeare is one of the four great worthies linked with the history of London whose busts sit in the arcade of the Guildhall. The others are Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys and Oliver Cromwell.
There are several places linked with William Shakespeare that are marked with plaques today …
These two plaques mark theatres in Shoreditch where Shakespeare acted.
They were just outside the boundaries of the City of London and so not under the control of the Mayor and Corporation of London.
“The Theatre” was built in 1576 by James Burbage on property that originally was part of Halliwell Priory (or “Holywell”) – one of the monasteries dissolved by Henry VIII.
This stained glass window in the church of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, which
Shakespeare was known to have attended in 1604 when he was a lodger on nearby Silver Street. There’s an interesting book Shakespeare and his involvement with his landlord’s family – The Lodger by Charles Nicholl.
The window was donated to the church in 1884 by Mr. Prentice, an American.
The plaque below marks the real location of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, at 123 Park Street in Southwark which is one street away from the river. The re-created Globe Theatre is not at the exact site of the original, but it’s close. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a wonderful reconstruction of the original playhouse –
and tpday is the only building in London with a thatched roof.The original Globe burned down on 29 June 1613 after a cannon was fired for special effects during a play and the thatch caught fire.
(Here are details about the fire, if you are interested www.bardstage.org/globe-theatre-fire.htm )
This lovely memorial to William Shakespeare, in Southwark Cathedral, was carved by Henry McCarthy in 1912.
Can you see the sprig of rosemary in Will’s hand?
It’s part of the verger’s job at the Cathedral to make sure he always has fresh rosemary.
In Act 4 of Hamlet, Ophelia says
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.”
The church is on the south side of the River Thames near the Globe Theatre, which is shown in the background of the memorial, along with the tower of St. Saviour.
The church became a cathedral in 1905. Before that it was known as the Church of St. Saviour and St. Mary Overie. (“Overie” meant “over the water” and was used to designate the church because it was on the south side of the river and people had to take a boat across the water to reach it from London.)
Shakespeare’s brother Edmond was a member of this parish and was buried in St. Saviour in 1607.John Harvard (who donated books and some money to a new college in the Massachusetts Bay Colony) was born in November 1607 and baptised at St. Saviour. William Shakespeare may have been at the baptism. There are stories of a connection between Shakespeare and John Harvard’s family. Shakespeare’s father and John Harvard’s maternal grandfather both lived in Stratford at the same time and served on the local council.
@Cathey Leitch, 2015