24 photos

Stratford has Anglo-Saxon origins, and developed as a market town during the medieval period. The original charters of the town were granted in 1196, making Stratford over 800 years old.
It is likely that Coventry grew from a settlement of the Bronze Age near the present-day city center. It has been a place of worship for 1,000 years. It suffered severe bomb damage during World War II, most notoriously from a massive Luftwaffe air raid known as the "Coventry Blitz" on 14 November 1940. Firebombing on this date led to severe damage to large areas of the city center and to Coventry's historic cathedral, leaving only a shell and the spire. The decision to rebuild the cathedral was taken the morning after its destruction. Rebuilding would not be an act of defiance, but rather a sign of faith, trust and hope for the future of the world. The Cathedral's Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation continues to provide spiritual and practical support in areas of conflict throughout the world.

Painting of Shakespeare at the Shakespeare birth place museum on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Painting of Shakespeare at the Shakespeare birth place museum on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Rear wing and gardens of Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Rear wing and gardens of Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Rear wing and gardens of Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Rear wing and gardens of Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Thistles and detail of Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Thistles and detail of  Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Historic marker at Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Historic marker at Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Opposite side of the rear wing and gardens of Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Opposite side of the rear wing and gardens of Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Reenactors at Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Reenactors at    Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Another view of the beautiful gardens at Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Another view of the beautiful gardens at Shakespeare's birth place on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

One of the many half-timbered structures, known for having exposed wood framing. Spaces between are filled with plaster, brick, or stone. In Medieval times, many European houses were half-timbered.

One of the many half-timbered structures, known for having exposed wood framing. Spaces between are filled with plaster, brick, or stone.  In Medieval times, many European houses were half-timbered.

Wonderful old buildings on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Wonderful old buildings on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

View of Coventry Cathedral from across the street, the bombed area to the left, new cathedral to the right.

View of Coventry Cathedral from across the street, the bombed area to the left, new cathedral to the right.

Exterior of the altar area of the bombed out portion of Coventry Cathedral.

Exterior of the altar area of the bombed out portion of Coventry Cathedral.

St Michael's Victory over the Devil, a sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein, to the right as you enter the area between the bombed ruins and the new building.

St Michael's Victory over the Devil, a sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein, to the right as you enter the area between the bombed ruins and the new building.

Stairs leading into the bombed section, with the cathedral spire undergoing restoration in the background.

Stairs leading into the bombed section, with the cathedral spire undergoing restoration in the background.

Window remains to the right when standing on the stairs.

Window remains to the right when standing on the stairs.

Up the stairs to the left, The tomb and effigy of Bishop Huyshe Wolcott Yeatman (the only one to survive the blitz) is just to the left of the altar bay.

Up the stairs to the left,  The tomb and effigy of Bishop Huyshe Wolcott Yeatman (the only one to survive the blitz) is just to the left of the altar bay.

Altar. The stonemason, Jock Forbes, saw 2 charred medieval roof timbers fallen in the shape of a cross. They were later placed on an altar of rubble with ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the wall.

Altar.  The stonemason, Jock Forbes, saw 2 charred medieval roof timbers fallen in the shape of a cross.  They were later placed on an altar of rubble with ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the wall.

Window remains on the wall to the right of the altar.

Window remains on the wall to the right of the altar.

To the right of the window remains the damaged monument to Richard Hopkins (d.1707) in the former St Thomas's (Capper's) Chapel.

To the right of the window remains the damaged monument to Richard Hopkins (d.1707) in the former St Thomas's (Capper's) Chapel.

The wall opposite the altar, with old cathedral spire undergoing renovation on the left and new cathedral spire right background.

The wall opposite the altar, with old cathedral spire undergoing renovation on the left and new cathedral spire right background.