Shakespeare in the City is a literary walk.
It has two important teachings:
1) Shakespeare wasn’t just something that happened south of the river, in one tourist-convenient spot.
In 1603 – during the ‘balmy’ regime-change – he lodged with a family of French Protestants on the now vanished Silver Street. This later plaque shows just how Frenchified the area was.
In 1604 he ‘persuaded’ two of his fellow lodgers to marry in the local church of St Olave’s, an incredible but true story.
As pointed out by James Shapiro in The King and the Playwright (BBC4), Shakespeare would have walked to work at the Globe along Noble Street, by the London Wall.
In 1607, his unlucky brother Edmund – also an actor – may also have lived with him. Edmund’s son, Shakespeare’s nephew, died in the summer of that year. His death is registered in another local church, St Giles without Cripplegate. More tragedy was soon to follow.
In 1608 Shakespeare became a sharer in the upmarket Blackfriars Theatre – the theatre that revolutionised indoor drama.
On 20 May 1609, he registered Shakespeare Sonnets for publication at the Stationer’s Register.
In 1613, he purchased his one and only London property in Blackfriars, the mysterious gatehouse, a part of the ancient monastery. He wasn’t quite the retired country gentleman of legend.
Niall McDevitt’s breathtaking walk is a poet’s guide to Shakespeare’s life and work in the ancient City of London. It has been celebrated by writer Nigel Richardson in the Telegraph. Beware of expensive imitators!
The walk is approx. two hours in length, starts at St Paul’s and finishes at Barbican. For group bookings call; 07722163823 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Text: Niall McDevitt
Photos: Helen Moore