The Trust’s director, Dr Diana Owen, and Head of Major Projects, Mark Armstrong, outlined plans based on the results of the recent archaeological dig. The development will cost £4.6 million and an application for £2 million will be made in 2014 to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“New Place is the most important site in Stratford as it is where Shakespeare had his final home and where he died in 1616,’ said Dr Owen. “It sits on the Historic Spine, which at the moment looks like a smile with the big front tooth missing and we need to do something to fill that gap by the 2016 anniversary when the world will be beating a path to our door.”
The digitised presentation by Mark Armstrong showed a contemporary interpretation of what is known about the house, which was the second largest in the town. See-through outlines of rooms and courtyards in steel with pierced bronze panels represent the gatehouse and the rooms beyond it where Shakespeare wrote and lived with his family.
“The dig told us a huge amount about how the building fits together and we want to tell the story of Shakespeare the man, his home and how he and his family lived,” said Mark Armstrong. “We will also restore Nash’s House, the Tudor knot garden, re-created in the 1920s, and make the Great Garden more easily accessible to all residents.”
He was not given an easy ride by Society members, some of whom wanted the green space next to Nash’s House left as it is, or felt that any structure would detract from the view of the Guild Chapel. The plans stimulated a lively and sometimes excitable debate which the acting chairman, John Scampion described as ‘a rollicking evening’.
owever, throughout the evening Dr Owen was busy taking notes of the suggestions made and further consultations will be held in the town before plans are presented for planning consent. It is hoped that construction will begin in 2015 for the re-vamped sit to be opened on Shakespeare’s birthday, 23rd April 2016.