21 March 2015

Something Old, Something New

A friend and myself had a day in London on Thursday - overcast and cold, why didn't 
we go on Friday - sunny and warm, c'est la vie, can plan the day but not the weather, 
you just have to make the most of it, which we did and had a great day.  

We were dropped off at Southwark Bridge

and started with the Something Old - The Globe Theatre exhibition and tour. The informative exhibition 
explores the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived and the theatre for which he wrote. For the 
theatre tour we had a brilliant guide who knew every fact and story of the history of this iconic building


In 1576 actor manager James Burbage built the theatre in Shoreditch. Shakespeare joined the company in the 1580's. In 1596 a dispute arose over the renewal of the lease. Burbage died in 1597 and a month later the lease expired. The company then performed at the nearby Curtain playhouse. In December 1598 they did something quite drastic - they leased a plot near the Rose, a rival theatre in Southwark, demolished the Shoreditch theatre and carried its timbers over the river! By 1599 the theatre was up and running and thrived for 14 years, performing many of Shakespeare's greatest plays. In 1613 during a performance of Henry V111 a stage cannon was set off, but it misfired, the thatch roof caught fire and the theatre burned to the ground in minutes. It was quickly rebuilt with a tiled roof and remained the home for Shakespeare's company until those cheerless Puritans closed it in 1642, and in 1644 it was demolished.

It's not actually truly circular, the archaeological excavation of the Rose theatre 
in 1989 revealed that the Elizabethan playhouses were polygonal and that a 
small portion of the Globe itself revealed that it was a 20 sided building .

The stage was being set for a production of Othello with a difference, set during WW1, 
as part of Born to Be, a youth engagement programme. 

The rebuilding of today's Globe theatre was initiated by the American actor, director and producer Sam Wanamaker after his first visit to London in 1949. Twenty one years later he founded what was to become the Shakespeare Globe Trust. After 23 years of tireless fundraising, researching and planning he died in 1993. Three and a half years later the theatre was completed using painstakingly accurate techniques. ‘Green’ oak was used, oak laths and staves support lime plaster and the walls are covered in white lime wash. The roof is made of water reed thatch. Other than concessions to comply with modern day fire regulations the Globe is as accurate a reconstruction as was possible with the available evidence

We weren't able to go into the Sam Wanamaker theatre, this is a model of what it looks like inside.

Lunch and then on to Something New - The View From the Shard, to follow as soon as I have sorted out the best pictures!


  1. Oh Polly, what a beautiful and inspiring place to visit! Thank you so much for sharing with us. Hugs and blessings to you!

    1. Hello Stephanie, thank you for your lovely comment. It was a wonderful visit. I'm hoping to see a lot more of London this year, it's been too long since I visited. The next part of our day was amazing - The Shard, coming soon! x

  2. Do you know Polly, I have never been inside! Yet another thing to add to my list this year. Thanks so much for this interesting and informative post xx

    1. Thank you Chel, I hope this is the first of many trips to London this year, partly due to reading your posts :-)

  3. Looks like an interesting place. When it comes to weather, timing is everything! Tom The Backroads Traveller

    1. Hi Tom, it certainly is. The weather did stay dry so it wasn't too bad.

  4. Polly you have taken us on a wonderful tour-- your photos are lovely and I appreciate your narrative. You certainly visited some amazing places....

    1. Thank you Vicki, I'm glad you enjoyed the tour :-)


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