Harvard House Briefly Open to the Public

Harvard House, Stratford-upon-Avon
4th July 2013, Harvard House, Stratford-upon-Avon. Image © Therese Donnelly.

There was a rare opening of Harvard House in Stratford-upon-Avon today.

The house was formerly the home of the mother of John Harvard, John Harvard being the founder of Harvard University.

It’s usually closed and looks rather sad and unloved despite being one of the finest old houses in Stratford. But in acknowledgement of American Independence Day, today it was open.

The house was built in the 16th century by a wealthy local merchant, Thomas Rogers, and has changed hands many times over the years.

The house boasts some of the finest wood carvings in Stratford which are a testament to the wealth of Thomas Rogers whose carved initials can be seen in the image below. (Click the images to enlarge)

Harvard House, Stratford-upon-Avon, wood carving.
Harvard House – frontage – wood carving. Image © Therese Donnelly

One reason for the property being closed is that substantial restoration work is needed. Some of the internal deterioration of the building through age can be seen in this image of the second floor ceiling which is having to be supported.

Harvard House ceiling.
Harvard House Ceiling Deterioration. Image © Therese Donnelly.

The image below shows restoration work has already been done with replacement of some of the oak beams.

Harvard house with restored oak beams
Harvard House with Restored Oak Beams. Image © Therese Donnelly.

The property, which is quite large, is unfurnished. All three floors were open for viewing. The image below shows part of the first floor.

Harvard House first floor
Harvard house – first floor. Image © Therese Donnelly.

In 1909, encouraged by the author Marie Corelli who made great efforts to preserve the older buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon, the house was bought by Edward Morris, a millionaire from Chicago. The house is now owned by Harvard University and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the property’s custodian.

Harvard House entrance
Entrance to Harvard House, Stratford-upon-Avon. Image © Therese Donnelly.

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