Restoration Roots ~ the Birthplace of William Shakespeare

The birthplace of William Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon, England, was restored in the 1850’s, when the concept of “restoration” of historic buildings was new. The c. 1550 house had been substantially altered by the time it was purchased for preservation in 1847. The front gable, dormers, and entry porch were gone and a portion of the facade was hidden behind 18th century brick veneer.

The restoration was based on an early drawing and physical evidence. The restoration architect’s report stated that the objective was, “to uphold with jealous care all that now exists of undoubted antiquity, not to destroy any portion about whose character the slightest doubt does now exist, but to restore any parts needing it in such manner that the restoration can never be mistaken for the old work though harmonising with it, and lastly to adopt such measures as modern science enables us to bring to our aid for the perfect preservation of the building.”

Those familiar with the American Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Restoration from the mid-20th century will recognize the foundation of several standards in this quote.

Few of us will ever restore a house of great historical significance but the Standards can provide useful guidance for making decisions about work to our houses – recognizing that private homeowners are not bound to follow the Standards (local historic districts may have similar standards for exterior work). The concepts contained in the Standards underlie many of the recommendations made in Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.

The book will be released on December 10th and is available for pre-order on the Barnes & Noble, Target, Powell’s Books, and Walmart websites and on Amazon. Reserve your copy today!

Ask your local bookstore to contact their rep at W.W. Norton to order copies.


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