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First World War Exhibition

Soldiers on Bridge St, Stratford-upon-Avon

Soldiers line Bridge Street in Stratford-upon-Avon


"Cry Havoc! and Let Slip the Dogs of War"

Explore the history of the First World War and its effects on Stratford residents with our new exhibition at Hall's Croft. 

This poignant exhibition provides an insight into the experiences of Stratford people during the war years, both on the home front and abroad, and explores the uses of Shakespeare’s work during that time as a morale booster to civilians and soldiers alike.

The exhibition includes items from the Stratford celebrations in April 1914 (before the War) and 1916 (during the War), which were both important dates for Shakespeare as the world marked 350 years since the playwright’s birth and the tricentenary of his death, respectively.

Also on display are a WWI bayonet crossed over a 16th century Halberd, the Last Will and Testament of a young man heading off to France, and another one from a man whose greatest worry was who would care for his daughter Alice if he did not return.

Letters from the son of Fred Winter, who had already established a shop that stands in Henley Street to this day, mostly concerned the weather. He would survive the War to succeed his father in running the shop. There is also a telegram sent to a mother, whose son was not so lucky.

The largest single item in the exhibition is a commemoration of fallen soldiers from the local area, whose names were taken from the War memorial nearby.

With this new exhibition, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust aims to show the impact of war on Stratford-upon-Avon and its residents by bringing together these collections and displaying items relating to the First World War and Stratford next to the wartime words of its most prominent local resident, William Shakespeare. We examine the experiences of soldiers, nurses and people on the home front, and how the language of Shakespeare was used at that time. 

This exhibition provides an ideal opportunity to explore the local history of the First World War and to share this heritage for the first time with the Stratford community, displaying many items that have rarely been seen before.

Families can discover even more about the First World War with our hands on activites.

'The First World War, Shakespeare and Stratford' is included as part of normal admission to Hall's Croft. All of our houses tickets are valid for 12 months, so you can enjoy free return visits during that time!