Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare's Birthplace
© Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust

One hundred and seventy years after it was saved by a committee including Charles Dickens, Sir Robert Peel and Prince Albert, Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon is to go under the gavel once more.

The beautiful Tudor house occupies a prime location in the town centre and boasts original features including six inglenook fireplaces and flagstone floors. With 100,000's of visitors every year, the property is perhaps not suitable for someone who values their privacy.

Alas, Shakespeare's Birthplace is not actually up for sale, but Shakespeare fans can attend a theatrical re-enactment of the 1847 auction on Saturday 16 September, which coincides with the launch of a new exhibition, Saving Shakespeare's Birthplace.

The property was was threatened with dissolution and decay when the resident butcher's wife died and her heirs put it up for auction.

In an early instance of fake news, rumours spread that P T Barnum intended to buy the buildings and ship them brick by brick to the USA.

Instead, the Stratford Committee set about raising the money needed to purchase the house for the nation. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was formed with the obligation to preserve the properties and safeguard the playwright's legacy, and continues to be a self-funded organisation today – the UK's oldest conservation charity.

Saving Shakespeare's Birthplace runs at Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon from 16 September to 29 December.

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