Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Collections

Delegates of the World Shakespeare Congress are welcome to visit the Reading Room at the Shakespeare Centre during their stay.

Special access for delegates:
Saturday 30th July 9.30-4.30
Monday 1st August 11 – 4.30
Tuesday 2nd August 11 – 4.30
Regular opening hours:
Wednesday – Friday 10-4.30

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust looks after the largest collection of Shakespeare related material in the UK. The Shakespeare Centre in Henley Street is home to our library, archive and museum collections, which have been designated as world class.

Our collections include around 55 000 books on all aspects of Shakespeare, his life, works and times, as well as theatre history and translations of the plays. These include over 800 early printed books. We also care for the RSC collection, which includes production materials from 1879 to the present (including archive DVDs from the early 1980s onwards) as well as a wealth of early theatre ephemera e.g. playbills, engravings from London and other theatres. Our local collections range from C.12 to the present day and include 31 of the 79 surviving Shakespeare documents, records of the Guild of the Holy Cross from around 1250 and of the Stratford-upon-Avon Corporation (from 1533-1835) , parish registers, poor law records, local estate collections, photos, maps and building plans. Readers may also consult some items from our Museum Collections in the Reading Room provided we have sufficient notice.

You can browse our catalogues at:

We anticipate being very busy during the Congress so please email us if you would like to reserve a seat. Our email address for all enquiries and bookings is

Pre-ordering materials is not essential and further items can be fetched during your visit, but we would encourage delegates to email their requests in advance so we can have items ready and waiting for opening time.

Please bring some ID if you do not already have a reader ticket. A letter of recommendation is required for certain items.

If you find you have a spare half an hour, please feel free to drop in for an introduction to our collections and service or simply to browse the shelves.