Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Stratford-upon-Avon is a town in Warwickshire, England. In 2001 the town had a population of 23,676. Stratford is known worldwide as the birthplace of William Shakespeare. It is also the administrative centre of Stratford-on-Avon District.
History and Geography
Stratford has Anglo-Saxon origins, and grew up as a market town in medieval times. Due to its associations with Shakespeare, Stratford is a popular tourist destination and receives over two million visitors a year from all over the world. Apart from tourism, other industries in the town include aluminium ware and boat building.
Stratford is close to the UK's second largest city, Birmingham, and is easily accessible from junction 15 of the M40 motorway. The town has good train links from Birmingham (Snow Hill) and has train services to London (Paddington).
The influx of tourists into Stratford has caused tension with residents in recent years, who have complained about numerous tour buses clogging local roads in the town.
The town is located on the River Avon, on the banks of which stands the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The RSC also runs two smaller theatres, the Swan , which is modelled on an Elizabethan theatre, and The Other Place , a black box theatre. Other tourist attractions within the town include Shakespeare's birthplace and two contemporary buildings, Hall's Croft (the one-time home of Shakespeare's daughter, Susannah) and New Place, which stands on the site of an earlier house originally owned by the playwright himself. Also within the town is Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was baptised and is buried.
Just outside the town are two other properties associated with Shakespeare: Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the former home of Shakespeare's wife, and Mary Arden's House , the former home of his mother.
Non-Shakespearean attractions include a Teddy Bear Museum, a Butterfly Farm and the Black Swan (locally known as the 'Dirty Duck'), a pub frequented by actors fresh from the stage, and the Bancroft Gardens.
Stratford is also home to several institutions set up for the study of Shakespeare, including the Shakespeare Centre , which holds books and documents related to the playwright, and the Shakespeare Institute, an academic institution.
- Screaming Lord Sutch started his political campaign in Stratford
- John Profumo was MP for Stratford
- Another famous playwright, J.B. Priestley, died in Stratford.
- The towns of Stratford, Australia and Stratford, Ontario both lie on rivers named Avon.
- Stratford 'on the web'
- Shakespeare-country A website run and maintained by South Warwickshire tourism authority
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