Previously, it was assumed that playwright William Shakespeare lived near Liverpool Street Station when he wrote some of his most famous plays, like Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but a theater historian has now pinpointed the exact address where the sonnet great hung his hat during those years.
The Daily Beast says that historian Geoffrey Marsh has discerned that the playwright actually lived in a property overlooking the churchyard of St. Helens’ Church, and was a tenant of a leather sellers guild that organized the Elizabethan leather trade.
“The place where Shakespeare lived in London gives us a more profound understanding of the inspirations for his work and life. Within a few years of migrating to London from Stratford, he was living in one of the wealthiest parishes in the City, alongside powerful public figures, wealthy international merchants, society doctors and expert musicians.”
After a decade of research, Marsh, a theater historian and director of the V & A’s Department of theater and performance has determined where Shakespeare lived surrounded by his colorful neighbors, many of whom made their way into his plays, says The Telegraph.
Shakespeare’s father was a glove maker in Stratford Upon Avon, and many of his plays include the particulars about various trades.
BBC says that Marsh was able to narrow it down to an exact address at what is now an office building block, but used to be 35 Great St. Helen’s, which is a site close to St. Helen’s Church in London. He added that it was close to where the Gherkin, a skyscraper, stands today.
Despite the time, Marsh says that at this location, Shakespeare would have come across people with connections all over Europe, including the universities of Italy and Germany. Living in this area would have also elevated the playwright’s status, leading him to the kind of life where he could have sought a coat of arms and “an impressive house in Stratford.”
CNN says that previously, the name William Shakespeare was found on the taxpayer records from 1597-1598. They also connected him to an east London playhouse in Shoreditch discovered in 2008, which predated the Globe Theatre.
Marsh explained that many of the documents he uncovered, dating back to the 1550s, were in “remarkably” good shape. While it was rumored in the past that Shakespeare might have lived at various theaters, by the time he wrote Romeo and Juliet, he was well-known, and certainly had a place of his own.