GWR Publicity Material
The GWR, as with all the railway companies, extensively
promoted places to visit by their railway services and Stratford upon Avon and
other areas within Warwickshire were no exception.
Foreword from 'Great Western Railway Shakespeare Land
The Worlds Great travel Shrine' (4th Edition April 1924).
Stratford-on-Avon is universally regarded in the light of a
Travel Shrine of world-wide interest and importance. There are very few
travellers who arrive in England, either from the United States or our
Dominions beyond the seas, who do not hope to visit the birthplace of William
Shakespeare on the banks of the winding Avon, and the historic and picturesque
country of Warwickshire, before they leave these shores. The homeland of
Shakespeare has ever been, and always must be, regarded in the light of a place
of pilgrimage by every member of the great Anglo-Saxon race, and it is moreover
a scared spot, the key to the gates of which is firmly held by the Great
Western Railway. Whether travellers disembark at Plymouth, Liverpool, or
Bristol, it is by the Great Western Railway that they will make their journey
to Shakespeares land at once expeditious, agreeable, and inexpensive.
The same thing may be said when London happens to be the
pilgrims starting point and Shakespeare-land is approached through Beechy
Bucks, amongst the sylvan beauties of which William Penn lies buried. By
the aid of the Great Western Railway it is easy for the traveller to combine a
pilgrimage to the tomb of Shakespeare with a visit to either Oxford or Bath,
both of which places can claim American traditions and associations of the
highest interest. It should also be remembered that not far from
Shakespeares home stands another timbered sixteenth century house, in
which, during the later years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, resided
Catherine Rogers, the fair daughter of a Stratford alderman, one of William
Shakespeares contemporaries, who became the wife of John Harvard of
Southwark, and whose son, called after his father, eventually gave his name to
the famous American University of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Shakespeares house in Henley Street was acquired in
1847 by public subscription as a national memorial of the poet, and the
interesting timbered house close by, now used as a ticket office, was purchased
by Mr. Andrew Carnegie and has been vested in the Shakespeare trustees.
Pilgrims to Shakespeare-land may, with advantage, carefully study the latest
edition of Stratford-on-Avon, from the earliest times to the death of
Shakespeare the admirable work of Sir Sidney Lee, one of the Shakespeare
trustees and the editor of the Dictionary of National Biography.
The unique facilities by rail and motor coach now afforded by the Great Western
Railway enable the traveller, whose time is precious, not only to explore
within the compass of a very few hours the historic sites and scenes of
Stratford-upon-Avon, but to include in his itinerary the mediaeval glories of
Warwick and Kenilworth Castles, and Royal Leamington Spa.
Rambles and Walking Tours in Shakespeare Land and the
The Secretary of the North Finchley Rambling Club, Mr. Hugh
E. Page, wrote a series of rambling books for the Great Western Railway to
promote recreational walking from locations along the companys lines.
These books were both popular enough and accurately informative to remain in
publication for many years after nationalisation. They reflect an era when this
burgeoning outdoor leisure pursuit was seen to offer an economic way to
appreciate the landscape and also a healthy form of exercise. The books include
advice on the rights and responsibilities of walkers and landowners in addition
to descriptions and details of the individual walks. The text associated with
each of the following images, are short extracts from Rambles and Walking Tours
in Shakespeare Land and the Cotswolds by Hugh E. Page. This was the third book
in the series published by the Great Western Railway in 1933.