This picture is a miniature model of the Globe Theatre, the short-lived theatre in London where Shakespeare’s plays were performed. It was built by the Lord’s Chamberlain Men, a company of actors that produced Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare himself was a minority shareholder.
The theatre was born out of adversity as it were, when the landlord of the land on which its predecessor, The Theatre, was built, asserted ownership of the building when the 21-year lease had expired in late 1597. That expiration was upon them and all attempts to renew the lease failed. The building, in fact, was owned outright by the actors.
In what may be called a Shakespearean comedy in real life, in 1598, the company dismantled the building beam by beam while the landlord was at his country home celebrating the Christmas holidays and stored it in a warehouse. This was technically not a theft as the actors found a clause in the old lease that allowed them to disassemble the building.
Proving that “All the world’s a stage”, the timber was used the following spring to build what would become the Globe Theatre on the other side of the Thames, the south bank. Regrettably, it would burn down in 1613 during a performance of King Henry VIII when a cannon misfired. It was rebuilt a year later.
William Shakespeare grew up during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled England 1558 – 1603 when she died at the age of 69. She had succeeded the notorious King Henry VIII, her father. The time period of her rule is known as the Elizabethan era, and was famous for being a golden age where poetry, music and literature flourished. Most notably, William Shakespeare.
This model of London during Shakespeare’s time is very realistic with respect to the skyline. The “Thamesis Fluvius” or River Thames, winds it way through London. It has changed course drastically over the centuries. The Globe Theatre, at which Shakepeare’s plays were performed, was built along the Thames.
What is very interesting about this model is the London Bridge. It looks like a combination of arches and buildings. In fact, it was.
London Bridge was the only bridge to connect the north and south sides of London. It became a residential and shopping district as well as a bridge. More notoriously, the south end became known for a heads-up display of executed criminals. That is, those who were beheaded had their heads displayed at this end of the bridge. Shakespeare would include grisly scenes like this in his play, Measure for Measure, ironically classified as a comedy.
The Shakespeare’s Birthplace museum presents a short multimedia introduction to Shakespeare’s life and times. Part of that include items from his time period or even his life.
In this picture, the Globe Theatre, where his plays were performed, is shown prominently alongside a model of London as it looked during Shakespeare’s day. The River Thames flows flows past the theatre and in the background the London skyline as it looked back then.
In this darkened room, a video discusses Shakespeare’s highlights, the important people in his life such as his parents, wife and children, and the important places, such as his birthplace, schooling and the Globe Theatre.
The presentation has a certain amount of sophistication to it because during certain parts of it, room lights turn on and off, brighten and dim to illustrate objects in the room. The lights for this model were off at the time this photograph was taken but came on when the narrator discussed London.
Upon entering the Shakespeare’s Birthplace museum, the first thing you see are three depictions of Shakespeare.
The cartoon on the left is by a famous British cartoonist, Ralph Steadman. He has drawn many cartoons of a political and social commentary nature, as well as for books written by himself and others. He has won many awards from around the world.
The painting in the middle was painted by Gerard Soest, who is famous for his paintings of Shakespeare and William Butler as well as upper-class English people. The problem with this painting is that Soest did not paint it while Shakespeare was alive. The painter was born in 1600 and Shakespeare died in 1616. Soest’s earliest known painting is 1646, 30 years after Shakespeare died. Therefore, his subject was most likely a man who resembled the poet or an earlier portrait.
The poster on the right comes from the Sixth World Shakespeare Congress held in Los Angeles, April 1996. This organization was founded in 1974 and holds an international event every five years. Previous locations include Washington, DC (1976), Stratford-upon-Avon (1981), Berlin (1986) and Tokyo (1991). Stratford-upon-Avon will be the host in 2016.
The great English poet and playwright William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in this house on Henley Street, a small side street in the humble little town of Stratford-upon-Avon. The actual date of his birth is unknown.
It was here that he spent his childhood years as the third of eight children and the oldest surviving son. His father John was an alderman, a glove maker and a wool dealer. His mother Mary Arden came from a wealthy landowning farmer’s family.
The house is built in the style of half-timber. There are two definitions for half-timber construction.
The first definition is a style of building the outside walls where each wall is a lattice of panels where each panel is filled with material used to shield the inside from the outside elements such as wind, rain and light. The material is non-loadbearing. The frame is often not hidden and can be seen from the outside. You can see the frame in this picture.
The second definition, and used less frequently, describes the composition of building materials where a full-timbered house is built entirely of wood and a half-timbered house’s ground floor is made of stone and the upper level is made of wood. The upper level could be a half-timbered floor in the first sense of the word.
This house could be half-timbered in both senses as other pictures taken of the ground floor show stone walls, but I am not certain how extensive the stonework is.
The modern paved walkway at Stonehenge approaches from the north-northwest and goes southwest. In the middle of the walkway is the closest you will be to the stones without walking on the grass.
This shot is of the stones closest to the walkway, giving you the best feel for how big the stones are.
The stones in the front are part of the outer circle. The original design seemed to be a complete circle, requiring 60 of these stones, called Sarsen stones, with a post-and-lintel setup. A post-and-lintel arrangement calls for two uprights (posts) holding up a horizontal stone (lintel), one at each end.
In fact, each post would hold up two lintels to form two complete circles; one composed of uprights and another composed of lintels. In the front, we see three posts but only one lintel, the other lintel having fallen and perhaps removed a long time ago for use in another location such as a building project.
This outer circle was never completed, with only about 30 Sarsen stones arriving here. Still, the monumental effort required to just move these stones is worthy of being a world-famous attraction. The people who moved this were highly-motivated, at a time when they spent most of the time trying to survive. Why would they spend such time and energy to do this with no leisure time? They would not have been able to take advantage of promo codes for CheapCaribbean for sure, with no time to relax in the sun on a sandy beach, bathed in the warm waters and balmy breezes.
The inner arrangement was composed of five trilithons to form a horseshoe shape. A trilithon is similar to the post-and-lintel but there are a maximum of three stones: two posts and a lintel.
There were a total of five trilithons but only three remain intact. There were three sizes: small, medium and large. The two in this picture are both medium size. The trilithon uprights are much larger than the outer circle uprights.
There are many amazing details about Stonehenge, but perhaps one of the most visible aspects is the trilithon. Not only is their weight staggeringly heavy, but the engineering is also amazing.
The trilithon is a simple structure of three stones of which two are upright and the third lying horizontally across the two uprights. There are five of these trilithons arranged in a horseshoe shape and the horseshoe is inside the outer circle. The open end faces north east and is 45 feet across.
These stones, like the smaller ones that make up the outer circle are sarsen stones. The uprights weigh up to 50 tons each. Only ten of these were brought here, but the effort to move one of these 50-ton stones had to have been utterly amazing. Nothing like this exists in most other parts of the world, making this structure truly astounding.
For example, if you were to get a coupon for Cheap Caribbean, you would see natural structures crafted by wind, water and volcanoes. Certainly, some primitive structures before the modern era. But nothing as massive as this.
The trilithons are arranged in height order, with two trilithons rising 20 feet high, the next two slightly higher and the tallest trilithon, third in the horseshoe, standing 24 feet high. This last trilithon collapsed and only one upright remains. This upright is 22 feet tall and extends 8 feet into the ground.
The one in this picture is one of the two smallest trilithons.
The upright stones that form the outer circle of Stonehenge are known as the Sarsen Circle. Sarsen refers to the type of sandstone that they are made of. While the complete circle requires 60 stones, only 30 stones are present, indicating that the remainder were never brought here. If they had been brought, the circle would have been 108 feet in diameter.
The dimensions of the stone are 13 feet high, 7 feet wide and 3.5 feet wide, weighing 25 tons each. The height does not include the part of the stone underground to hold the stone in place. They are placed about 3 feet apart along the circle.
The outward-facing surface, seen here in the picture, is rougher and less finely-worked than the inward-facing surface, indicating that the builders thought the inward-facing surfaces had more significance.
Through the effects of wind, rain, snow and ice, a face appears to wink to all who pass by. In this temperate climate, snow and ice are significant factors while in other parts of the world, the tropics, only wind and water are the important factors. So if you were to use promotional codes from Cheap Caribbean, you would see wind erosion and water erosion, but definitely not snow or ice.
Behind this stone is one of the famous trilithons, an arrangement of three rocks, one supported by the other two.
The stones in this picture are known as sarsen stones. They are part of what is known as the Sarsen Circle. There are 30 of them but a total of 60 would be needed to complete the circle. It appears that only half the required number were brought to the site. This arrangement encircles the rest of the rocks and is perhaps the most obvious part of Stonehenge.
What is the most impressive aspect of these stones is their weight, ranging from 25 tons to 50 tons. As a comparison, the tiny Smart Car weights 1600 pounds or .8 tons. Thus, a stone weighing 25 tons would be the equivalent of 31 Smart Cars and a 50-ton stone is the equivalent of 62.5 Smart Cars!
When compared to a grain of sand, the contrast is stunning. There are untold trillions of grains of sand on Caribbean beaches, and unlike a rock, will not stub your toe. If you use a discount code from CheapCaribbean, you can lie down on the sand, and enjoy balmy weather. These stones, combined with cold winds year round, make reclining much more difficult to do.
These stones could have been transported as much as 25 miles from a rock quarry at the Marlborough Downs. Modern estimates project a crew of 600 men to move one stone using leather ropes, 500 of whom would move the rock and 100 men deploying rollers. The logistics of this continues to mystify and astound.
The rocks at Stonehenge are huge, enormously huge. However, the cluster of all of them are not really huge from a modern perspective. That is, whenever you see a program about Stonehenge, you see aerial views and 3-D computer graphical renderings. You hear about the size of the stones and you get the impression that this is a large complex of rocks.
But when you walk up to it, it is a compact configuration. The stones are huge, no doubt about it, but they are not spread out over long distances.
This picture is taken from the north-north-west side, approaching the north-west point where you can come closest to the rock formation. The stones in the front lying on the ground are sarsen stones. They were originally upright.
Stone formations like these are nowhere to be found in other parts of the world. While some parts of the Caribbean are mountainous, no stone arrangements like this are to be found. Instead, there are palm tree arrangements which are ubiquitous, easily seen by using coupons from Cheap Caribbean. The one thing you see a lot of is sand.
The area is roped off so nobody can get to the rocks, but if you pay more money, you can walk in and around the rocks at certain times of the day.
Here is a diagram of the rock formation as it is now. Look for the three fallen sarsen stones to line up the diagram with this picture.