theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
Originally posted on Spitalfields Life
Ever since I visited the newly-discovered site of William Shakespeare’s first theatre in Shoreditch, I found myself thinking about where else in London I could locate Shakespeare. The city has changed so much that very little remains from his time and even though I might discover his whereabouts – such as his lodging in Silver St in 1612 – usually the terrain is unrecognisable. Silver St is lost beneath the Barbican now.
Yet, in spite of everything, there are buildings in London that Shakespeare would have known, and, in each case, there are greater or lesser reasons to believe he was there. As the mental list of places where I could enter the same air space as Shakespeare grew, so did my desire to visit them all and discover what remains to meet my eyes that he would also have seen.
Thus it was that I set out under a moody sky in search of Shakespeare’s London – walking first over to St Helen’s Bishopsgate where Shakespeare was a parishioner, according to the parish tax inspector who recorded his failure to pay tax on 15th November 1597. This ancient church is a miraculous survivor of the Fire of London, the Blitz and the terrorist bombings of the nineteen nineties, and contains spectacular monuments that Shakespeare could have seen if he came here, including the eerie somnolent figure of Sir William Pickering of 1574 illustrated above. There is great charm in the diverse collection of melancholic Elizabethan statuary residing here in…
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