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Shakespeare yards from Liverpool Street while writing Romeo And Juliet, historian says | Ents & Arts News



A historian has worked out where William Shakespeare lived when he was working on some of his best loved plays.

Geoffrey Marsh, the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s department of theatre and performance, has combed the archives of Elizabethan London and concluded Shakespeare lived yards from Liverpool Street.

It was his neighbours in the Bishopsgate area of the City of London who influenced many of the Bard’s character, Mr Marsh has told The Daily Telegraph.

It has long been thought that Shakespeare lived in central London but the precise location was unknown.

Among the plays that he wrote while he lived there were Romeo And Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant Of Venice, and Richard II.

He would have been in his late 20s and early 30s at the time.

Mr Marsh suggests that the witches in Macbeth, the story of the music in As You Like It and some of the lines from King Lear may have been inspired by the people living nearby.

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Mr Marsh told the Telegraph: “He was living in one of the wealthiest parishes in the city, alongside powerful public figures, wealthy international merchants, society doctors and expert musicians

The approximate location of Shakespeare's House according to new research
The approximate location of Shakespeare’s House according to new research

“The merchants had connections across Europe and doctors were linked to the latest progressive thinking in universities in Italy and Germany.

“It’s the equivalent of today’s Notting Hill businessmen, living alongside artists, particularly musicians.

“Mixing with these kinds of people had a profound effect on him.”

The actual location where he is thought to have lived in the 1590s is the corner of St Helen’s Churchyard and Bishopsgate Street.

A modern day Streetview image of the area Shakespeare lived
A modern-day Streetview image of the area Shakespeare lived

Two of his neighbours were doctors who had been trained on the continent.

Another was Sir John Spencer, a “very rich and mafioso-style” character who became mayor and tried to have theatres closed down to stem the plague, which hit the city in 1592.

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