Saving Shakespeare's Birthplace
13. What happened next
The Birthplace had been saved but after the celebrations died down, the members of the two committees were left owing nearly £2000. To pay off this debt, fundraising continued with appeals, performances and other activities.
A star studded Shakespeare Night under the patronage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, took place at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden, on 7 December 1847. The Daily News reported that it was 'a brilliant assemblage of fashionable and distinguished company' and the Charter Gas Company even donated the gas needed to light the theatre. Another Shakespeare Night took place in March 1848 and a grand ball on 22 May.
Fundraising poster, 1848
Author Charles Dickens organised a series of fundraising amateur theatrical performances, though this was to fund the appointment of a Birthplace curator rather than support the purchase itself. On the evening of 3 June 1848, Dickens appeared twice on stage, as Juctice Shallow in The Merry Wives of Windsor and as the Doctor in a Mrs Inchbald's farce Animal Magnetism.
Find out about other fundraising events below
The Committees’ finally completed their purchase in 1848 with a bank loan of about £500 covering the remaining debt.