3.10 Shakespeareans: Rose Theatre excavation (68)

Mon, 8 May 89 20:10:15 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 10. Monday, 8 May 1989.

Date: 08 May 89 09:39:52 EDT
From: Jim Cahalan <JMCAHAL@IUP.BITNET>
Subject: Shakespeare

[The following has been forwarded from
Jim Cahalan, Graduate Literature <JMCAHAL@IUP.BITNET>
English Dept., 111 Leonard, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA 15705-1094 Phone: (412) 357-2264.]

Dear Jim,
I have read with great interest your item on the formation of an
English Newsgroup. This appeared in the Humanities list and was shown
to me last week by Susan Kruse, a colleague at King's College. May I
suggest a sort of early test for its effectiveness? There is a crisis
in London at the moment because only within the past few weeks
archeological work at the site of the 402 year old Rose Theatre has revealed
for the first time in modern history substantial foundations of one of
London's great open wooden theatres. The Rose stood opposite
Shakespeare's Globe and he likely acted on its stage. At the moment it
is possible to see the inner yard surface of the playhouse. Two
separate foundations for the stage (at different periods) have appeared,
the older with a foundation of brick and timbers. The channel made in
the yard from rain dripping from the thatched gallery roof is plainly
visible. The yard slants downward toward the stage.
Developers are scheduled to move onto the site to bury these remains
and erect an office building on 15 May!
Unfortunately I do not understand the British Law, but I believe that
as it stands presently, if English Heritage, the official conservation
body, tries to intervene to save the site, it risks legal action in the
courts for damages running up to millions of pounds. Noises are beginning
to be made in the British press over this potentially tragic
loss. Also I understand there has been some coverage in the American
Perhaps there may be some hope that the site developers who are paying
for the Museum of London archeologists to work on the dig might try to
incorporate the Rose foundations within the new building if they sensed
any public concern. Some members of the House of Commons have begun
at this late moment to try to arouse interest in preserving the Rose,
but the effort obviously needs all the support it can gather. Any
word from overseas might give this hope just the boost it needs.
I believe that this unique theatre is a very special case. If any
readers of this have an interest in Shakespeare, the English Theatre or
English literature in general and think that they could get a letter or
brief message of some sort to London before 14 May (the mail might just
make it) could I ask them to try? It would be particularly helpful if
they mentioned that there is interest in such a site on the part of
people living outside Britain. If they could contact the media, either
here or in North America (which might gain notice in London) that might
help a lot. As few as three letters might make a big difference.
The main Members of Parliament to write to sending support are --
(1) Simon Hughes (2) Harriet Harman (3) Gerald Bowden
The House of Commons, Palace of Westminister LONDON S.W.1 England.
(phone 01-270-3000).
Thank you very much,
Stephen Miller Postgraduate student, c/o Department of English, King's
College London, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS England.