The Story of the Shakespeare Club

shakespeare-club-history-book-jacketThe Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon lays claim to being the oldest Shakespeare Club in the world still in existence and a new book tells its story. The Club helped to put Stratford-upon-Avon at the centre of world appreciation of William Shakespeare. Formed in 1824 by local tradesmen it was responsible for the first important local festivities celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday in 1827 and 1830, and played an important part in developing the celebrations into the twentieth century. It also was the first organisation to take responsibility for caring for the town’s Shakespeare relics, including the Shakespeare monument in Holy Trinity Church and Shakespeare’s Birthplace.

The book is an alternative history of the town in which local people are shown to assert their pride in Shakespeare as a local poet by celebrating him in their own way. It documents their efforts to make Shakespeare count in his home town as Stratford transformed itself into a global centre of culture and tourism.  Full details are on the Club’s website If you would like to order a copy (£12.99 plus postage) please email with your name and address and instructions will be sent to you.

The gallery below shows a selection of images from the book, all freely available for use. If you require higher resolution files of these images please contact