The Bard’s Relics
Before he left Stratford, Shakespeare had supposedly slept beneath a crab-apple tree (“Shakespeare’s Canopy”) following a drinking contest with some men from neighbouring Bidford. The tree was torn to pieces by souvenir hunters. Among relics of the Bard held at Stratford were his pencil case, walking stick, two pairs of gloves, shoe-horn, brooch, ring, table, spoon, salt-cellar, half-pint mug, ink-stand, clock, shovel-board, chair and bench.
HIS CHAIR GRADUALLY DISAPPEARED AS SOUVENIR SLICES WERE CUT FROM IT, UNTIL IT WAS PURCHASED BY A POLISH PRINCESS AT THE END OF THE 18TH CENTURY.
The Stratford tourist trade was clearly benefiting. In 1769, the actor David Garrick (1717-79) organized the first Shakespeare jubilee there. Later, after the railway had come to Stratford in 1860, some 30,000 tourists were able to attend the 1864 tricentennial jubilee. Festivals became annual shortly thereafter.