Shakespeare’s Waters

On our return from Wales at the turn of the year the coach driver decided to have a quick detour so we could stretch our legs and grab a coffee.  He chose Stratford-upon-Avon, birth place of a rather well known Tudor poet and playwright.

Some of you may think I’m a philistine but the thing is, I’ve never read any of the works of Mr Shakespeare.  My secondary education didn’t require such a high level of learning, after all we were only being readied to work in field or factory.  However I do like a bit of history.  We wandered into Stratford’s centre and took a stroll down the pedestrianised Henley Street.  Here on your left is the Bards birthplace, a fine old preserved Tudor building complete with the obligatory tourists taking selfies and, oddly, a lady dressed in period costume sitting in an upstairs window.  When you glance around the house looks somewhat out of place.  Surrounded by modern emporiums such as ‘Ye Olde Hamlet Starbucks’, ‘Ye Olde Macbeth McDonalds’ and ‘Ye Olde Othello Betting Shoppe’.  OK not the real names but you get my drift and what on earth a Harry Potter gift shop has to do with Shakespeare I can’t fathom out.  We continued our walk, past the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (not my favourite piece of architecture) and came to the river and canal, this is more like it!

Messing about on the river, those rowers are a hardy bunch!  The church is Will’s resting place

The Warwickshire Avon is, to me, a big river.  We have several rivers in Norfolk but not as wide or long.  The Avon rises near Naseby in Northamptonshire and flows 85 miles (137km) south/west to join the river Severn at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.

The eight span Tramway bridge built in Victorian times
Lock 56 which links the Stratford-upon-Avon canal to the Warwickshire Avon.  The water was the colour of milky tea!

I do have a fascination for old canals, some of you may remember this post  Nowadays these man made waterways are used for gentle boating holidays but their origins were far from romantic.  Dug by hand, mostly by Irish ‘Navvies’ at the start of the industrial revolution, the canal system was designed to transport goods and materials in bulk across the Country.  This was when the roads were little more than dusty cart tracks.  The coming of the railways killed off most of the canals including the Stratford-upon Avon.  Construction started in 1793 on the 25.5 mile (41km) canal which heads towards Birmingham and has 56 locks to raise or lower the barges.  By 1945 the southern section was un-navigable.  It was restored by the National Trust and re-opened by the Queen Mother in 1964.

If you fancy a canal holiday allow plenty of time and make sure you are fit!

Why use mono images?  Well colour just didn’t cut it on a gloomy day.  Several bloggers use mono images and this inspired me to try and I rather like them.

20 thoughts on “Shakespeare’s Waters

  1. I think the mono adds to the timeframe you are blogging about. 1700’s makes me think of the Industrial England full of fossil fuel smoked clouds and barges running goods up and down the canals. Cool pictures and background.

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  2. I’d prefer a bit of a mooch round a canal any day in preference to the horrors of Shakespeare flavoured Harry Potter theme park. I think I was dragged through some of the bard’s works at school but found them written in a language that wasn’t very engaging. Don’t know if I’d rate them now, suspect not.
    Nice photos!

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  3. So, a lazy holiday on the canals might not be all black and white after all?

    Had to learn all about the canals when we did the industrial revolution for O level history, and that was a few weeks ago!

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    1. Always fancied a hol on the canals but I would have to get Mrs H fit to operate all them locks!
      Didn’t learn too much about the industrial revolution at school (don’t know if we learned much at all) but I can’t pass a canal by without having a good look, amazed at how much work went into them also being an ex-boat builder love some of them old barges.

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  4. First off, I do like the mono shots – they bring with them an additional vintage feel. Thanks for the interesting Bard background, I am sure he took inspiration from JK Rowling. Survived mandatory read of the works in my middle education years, but very little on the background of the author (including never knowing where he was born until now ha). Also means I suck at Jeopardy. On the dark side, definitely curse his followers (as in Eugene Schieffelin) for bringing over those damn Starlings. Nice read.

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    1. Thanks B. Another reason for using mono was that in each shot there was some very bright unnatural colour, for example the rowers were in fluorescent clothing, which sort of took your eye of the bigger picture!
      Old Will’s birth place is kind of famous over here but as you can see from my observations I wasn’t overly keen on the place. I do however like a bit of Harry Potter (had to really as the daughter kept watching the dvds) and several years ago we visited the film studios which house all the props and sets, it was absolutely brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tanja. You might guess I was not overly impressed with the town but if you get the chance to visit don’t let my mumblings put you off, I’m sure it has a lot more to offer and a warm sunny day could help.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I learned just enough of The Bard of Avon in school to become adept at mangling quotes from his works. Usually in a profane manner. At inappropriate times.

    Thank goodness you found the water! Fascinating efforts to create working waterways! I’ve always been interested in how humans have learned to use water resources to advantage.

    Black and white images fit the tone of your post perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

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