Tuesday 16 January 2018

Selfie sticks banned from Shakespeare's birthplace

A tempest brews over claims tourists waving selfie sticks are damaging the tiny Tudor house in Stratford-upon-Avon

Selfie sticks are now banned from Shakespeare's Birthplace
Selfie sticks are now banned from Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon

Camilla Turner

Selfie sticks have been banned at William Shakespeare's home amid fears that the unwieldy contraptions may cause irreparable damage the property and its artefacts.

It is the latest in a series of museums and galleries to outlaw the extendable rods, which are designed for people to take better photos of themselves using mobile phones.

Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
Selfie sticks are now banned from Shakespeare's Birthplace

In an attempt to safeguard the historic sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warcs, from being destroyed by awry sticks, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has banned the implements from their five attractions.

"All of our houses are Tudor and made out of wattle and daub and very fragile,” said Alison Cole from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

"They're all quite small buildings and there are some priceless artefacts that are hundreds of years old. We couldn't replace them if they were broken so we have to protect them."

Shakespeare was born in the thatched cottage in April 1564 and spent his early years, as well as the first five years of his marriage to Anne Hathaway in the building.

The house is now open for tours of his works and life, and exhibitions include his birth certificate and the first book that contained his plays all together.

 Shakespeare Birthplace Trust runs five properties across Stratford-upon-Avon, all of which are connected to Shakespeare or his immediate family.

These include the cottage of Anne Hathaway, Mary Arden's Farm, Hall's Croft, the former house of wealthy Dr John Hall, and Harvard House, an Elizabethan town house.

Ms Cole said that so far, no one has complained about the ban.

"Hundreds of thousands of people come through our doors every year,” she said.

"We don't want people stopped taking up space with their selfie sticks when other visitors are trying to walk past.

"We are all about making Shakespeare come to life for people and we don't want that to be impaired."

The All England Lawn Tennis Club warned that selfie sticks would not be permitted at Wimbledon this summer.

Earlier this year, they were also banned from the National Gallery. The venue in Trafalgar Square, central London, placed the devices in the same category as tripods, which are already prohibited, and the move prompted other cultural venues to consider following suit.

Tottenham Hotspur barred the contraptions from White Hart Lane after a complaint from a fan, while they have also been barred at a number of galleries and museums in the US and France.

Selfie sticks are banned from a number of overseas institutions too. Guards in the Palace of Versailles started ordering visitors to put them away earlier this year.

Bans are also in force at Wembley Arena and at Washington's Smithsonian, the world's largest museum and research complex.


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