The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is carrying out essential conservation work at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the 500 year old family home of Shakespeare’s wife.
The middle chimney of the picturesque thatched cottage is being repaired and strengthened by specialists from Heritage Building & Conservation Staffordshire. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage will be open to visitors as usual throughout the conservation process. Scaffolding on both sides of the house is needed to span the roof without putting any load on the historic timber cruck frame. The conservation work is due to be completed before Christmas, subject to weather and any unforeseen challenges.
The chimney conservation project has been planned in consultation with Historic England, archaeologists, ecologists and the local planning authority. The top 12 courses of the chimney, which was rebuilt in red brick in 1697, will be removed one-by-one, and replaced using original and new bricks handmade to the same specification.
Conservation repairs will also be made to one set of steps, damaged by pests and damp, at the front of the Cottage.
Gemma McGlinchey, Property Services Supervisor at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “We constantly monitor the structure of the cottage and recently noticed that the mortar on the chimney has broken down and become weak. Working with heritage building conservation specialists and archaeologists we’re confident the remedial works will be carried out to the highest standard with minimal disruption to visitors, ensuring that the cottage is conserved for the next 500 years.”
There will be a series of special tours later this year, offering a chance to learn more about how the cottage is cared for and conserved by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. As a self-sustaining charity, the Trust relies on the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends for the income which makes it possible to maintain the historic Shakespeare houses and collections and keep them open to the public. Funds required for the long-term conservation of the Shakespeare family homes and collections far exceed the reserves available. Every penny is vital to our continued work and we are immensely grateful for contributions of any size.
For more information see www.shakespeare.org.uk/support-us.