It was great pity, so it was,
That villanous saltpetre should be digg’d
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy’d
(Henry IV, Part I)
There seemed little to celebrate in April 1916, but the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s death – St George’s Day – did not go unmarked in Richmond.
Although the Richmond & Twickenham Times commented that the celebrations were “nothing spectacular or adequate”, the Mayor of Richmond arranged a tea and lecture attended by former Queen Amelia of Portugal and other local worthies.
And in schools across the area, the day was spent with songs and recitals of Shakespeare’s work. The Times hoped that:
“In after life one of the incidents of the Great War that will come to their mind will be the fact that on one day they did honour to the memory of one of the greatest of Englishmen.” (May 6 Edition)
More information about the 400th anniversary celebrations can be found here.