Site Map Hidden Heritage   Links Contact Us Historic Spine Members Login Members Forum Email the Society
Welcome to the Stratford Society
Your Local Civic Society charity registration No. 251182
The Stratford Society aims to protect the  heritage of our historic market town and its residents. Founded in 1966, it  offers non-political, professional expertise on the town's buildings and their  surroundings. It works with councils and other organisations locally and  nationally and promotes high quality design in keeping with the character of  this world famous and much visited town.
How the Society Works
Working Groups
Members Activities
Latest News
Notice of Special Meeting - For Society Members

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust 


Last November we had a presentation and very lively debate when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust shared its vision for the re-presentation of the site of New Place.  As a result of this consultation, the Trust has ‘gone back to the drawing board’ and has now offered to bring members up to date on its revised plans.  Here is your opportunity to see what the revised plans are and to discuss them with the Trust’s architect Chris Wise.

This meeting will be held in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street

on Wednesday 10th September at 6.15pm.


Click Here
to download your own copy

First Members Visit of the 2014/15 Season


Ragley Hall, Alcester

Thursday 9 th October 2014

Time……………Begin -2pm……finish 4pm (approx.)

Our private tour of Ragley Hall will reveal the hidden glories of the rooms inside a fine Palladian House built in the 1680’s, especially noted for the James Gibb 70 ft Great Hall.

It is home to Lord and Lady Hertford and their family. Our tour guide will take us through the stunning Private State Rooms on the first floor, so called, because the Prince Regent (later George IVth) was a frequent visitor. In 1756 a bed was specially built for him and will be on view in his own room. The State Rooms are still in use by the family; especially for birthday celebrations which are held in the beautiful yellow dining room.

Visit details

Please meet in the car park in front of the house for 2pm. There are steps up to the main door, but ground floor access is available as well as a lift. One wheelchair for use is available.

Minimum group number….20 people - cost £10.00 per person with an optional additional £4.50 for tea and cake.

Click Here for an application form to book your places.

Toll House Update 31st July 2014

The Stratford Historic Building Trust have been offered a further grant of £5000 from the Architectural Heritage fund to enable us to progress the development of an office and exhibition area within the repaired and refurbished Toll House.

We have appointed a conservation architect to assist the Trustees in preparing a scheme for a planning and Listed Building Application.

We are in negotiations with English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund for further funding.

Once funding is secure we will make more public announcements about the Toll House and the future work of the Trust.


All dates and times are booked at the Falcon Hotel, so please put them in your diaries now.

Speakers or topics marked * are subject to confirmation.

Monday 15th September 2014 at 6.15pm

Stratford and Tourism: the challenges and the rewards

Robin Tjolle, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s England, the company recently formed to promote Stratford and south Warwickshire, will talk about the vital importance of tourism to the local economy, how its impact on the town can be managed and how it can be made sustainable.

Monday 20th October 2014 at 6.15pm

Stratford’s Neighbourhood Plan

As this key part of Stratford’s planning strategies for the future reaches draft stage, members will have a unique opportunity to learn and comment on its contents. The discussion will be led by Kevin Bond, Chairman, and John Deegan.

Monday 17th November 2014 at 6.15pm

The Demise of the NIMBY –

How Do We Get People Campaigning For New Homes in their Community?

Mike Roberts, who co-founded HAB with broadcaster Kevin McLoud, challenges us to welcome new housing that is well designed and respects its context – not the usual straight-out-of the-catalogue estates we all dread. HAB stands for Happiness Architecture Beauty and it is well worth looking at its mission statement at

Monday 19th January 2015 at 3.00pm

*Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Where does Stratford fit in ?

We hope to bring you key speakers to take us through the work of this body, effectively the successor to Advantage West Midlands as the channel for government money to promote enterprise in our sub-region.

Monday 16th February 2015at 6.15pm

Rebuilding Britain:  the future of the British Planning System

 Dr Hugh Ellis is Head of Policy at the Town & Country Planning Association. Founded in 1899 to promote the idea of the Garden City, the TCPA is Britain's oldest charity concerned with planning, housing and the environment.

Monday 16th March 2015 at 6.15pm

How to get sensitive and successful development in historic towns

Steven Bee is Principal of Urban Counsel, specialising in advice and guidance to all those engaged in planning for and undertaking development. The distinctive   Urban Counsel  approach seeks out the commonalities among interested parties to maximise consensus and minimise conflict.  Steven was previously the Director of Planning and Development for English Heritage.

Advance Notice:

*New Place – new plans

Last November we had a presentation and very lively debate when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust shared its vision for the re-presentation of the site of New Place. As a result of this consultation, the Trust has ‘gone back to the drawing board’ and has now offered to bring members up to date on its revised plans. We intend to hold a special meeting for this purpose. We will advise you of when and where as soon as possible.


Dates for your diary !Full details and booking arrangements to follow in due course.

All costs quoted are per person.

 Thursday 9th October 2014

Ragley Hall

Private tour of the State Rooms at Ragley Hall, near Alcester 2.00pm-4.00pm.

Cost £10.00. Afternoon tea available as an optional extra at £4.50.

Sunday 7th December 2014

Christmas Lunch

Christmas lunch this year will be held at The Falcon Hotel.

Details of menu, cost and entertainment to follow.

Wednesday 4th March 2015

Hidden Charlecote

Meet in the car park at 9.30am for a private tour and talk on the South Wing of Charlecote Park which is not normally open to the public. The tour will be conducted by Sir Edmund Fairfax Lucy, the present Baronet. Visit to last between two and a half and three hours.

Cost £10.00 to include refreshments.

Thursday 16th April 2015

Stanway House and fountain

Stanway, between Broadway and Winchcombe, is an outstandingly beautiful example of a Jacobean manor house. Among many other delightful features, it has a water garden – recently restored – and the highest fountain in Britain (300 feet) which will be demonstrated for us. Meet at 2.30pm for the private tour which will take about two hours.

Cost £10.00 with tea and cakes available at £3.00.

Thursday 7th May 2015

Hill Close Gardens, Warwick

Situated near Warwick Racecourse, Mill Close Gardens are a very rare example of Victorian detached leisure gardens. Threatened with destruction and re-development, local people worked tirelessly to save and restore them. Meet at 2.00pm for the private tour which will last approximately two hours.

Cost £8.00 which includes refreshments.

Friday 3rd July 2015

Chairman’s Summer Party

Details to follow but put this date in your diary now !

Wednesday 16th September 2015

Sezincote House

Sezincote is a unique and extraordinary Indian house set amidst the Cotswold Hills just beyond Moreton-in-Marsh. Built in 1810, it was the inspiration for the Brighton Pavilion. Meet at 2.00pm for the tour which will last about one and a half hours.

Cost £11.50. Sezincote is close to Batsford Arboretum if refreshments are required.

The Chairman's Summer Party Friday 4th July from 7pm at Springfield Farm, Ettington
A most convivial and enjoyable evening was spent at Springfield Farm, Ettington, for our annual Chairman’s Summer Party, attended by members and invited guests;  we were delighted the latter included our Mayor and Mayoress, themselves members of the Society.

Our hosts, Tony and Sarah Brooker, provided a splendid buffet supper which we enjoyed at tables set
amidst Fergusson and Fordson tractors.  It was as well we were under cover as, typically, the weather turned to showery rain!

The proceeds of the evening will be donated to the charity of Sarah's choice, The Ettington Community First Responders.    
Springfield Farm is a very unusual venue, Originally a farm,Springfield is now beautiful family home, surrounded by an impressive set of huge hangars (built by Tony) which house an incredible collection of vintage cars and tractors.

The guests enjoyed exploring this collection and were further challenged by a quiz set by Nic Walsh, our Programme Organiser.  A set of questions led people through all three hangars looking for clues, giving them the opportunity to look closely at the exhibits in order to the find answers.  At the end of the meal, the answers were read out, papers were marked and prizes were awarded to the three highest scores. The quiz provided much entertainment whilst also raising £180 for the charity.

Tony Brooker gave a short speech about his vehicle collection and Kevin Bond made a speech on behalf of The Society.
We presented Sarah with a bouquet to thank her for all her hospitality and hard work during the evening catering for the guests.

We thank everyone who supported this event in person or by donating prizes and we look forward to seeing you all again at future meetings and visits.

A New book on Stratford’s Historic Spine

The Stratford Society has been working for some time to promote the town’s Historic Spine, the route running along High Street, Chapel Street, Church Street and Old Town, lined with many of the town’s finest buildings. In particular, two members of the Society, Paul Burley, retired architect and practising artist, and Bob Bearman, formerly Head of Archives at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, have spent the last three years working on a project to get the story of the Spine into book form. Paul has drawn every building along it in the form of eight continuous friezes and underneath each building Bob has provided notes of its historical and/or architectural interest. Some members may have seen the fruit of their labours displayed as panels at Heritage Open Day in 2012. Now, using an ingenious ‘fold-out’ system, these have been put into book form.

The Society has been very happy to support publication costs in the hope that this study will be of interest and help to local schools, town planners, local historians and visitors to the town but, above all, to do justice to this remarkable collection of buildings of which Stratford should be proud.

Copies, price £7.00 will be on sale at the Annual General Meeting on 14 April but can also be obtained either by contacting the Society via its email address or from local bookshops

Paul Burley (left) and Bob Bearman,
outside the almshouses in Church Street,
examining a ‘fold-out’ section of their new book.
Photo: Dick Prior
Affiliated Organisations
English Historic Towns Link
English Heritage Link
Corporate Sponsor Links
George Pragnell - Jewellers Link
CA Rookes Wine Merchants & Shippers Link