Tree

(lost) Shakespeare's tree

Erection date: 23/4/1864

Inscription

{The plaque erected with the 1964 tree read, in bright colours on a black background:}
SHAKESPEARE OAK.
Planted by Dame Edith Evans, D.B.E., for the Society for Theatre Research on April 23rd, 1964, to commemorate the Shakespeare Quatercentenary and to replace the oak planted by Samuel Phelps nearby on April 23rd, 1864.

The plaque is now lost.

Site: Shakespeare's tree (1 memorial)

NW3, Primrose Hill

The image showing the 1864 tree being planted is from eBay. It's from page 418 of 'The Illustrated London News', April 30 1864, captioned 'The Shakspeare (sic) Commemoration in London: planting an oak on Primrose Hill – see page 422.'

Two articles in the Camden New Journal (August 2013 and April 2014) tell the story of this tree and its replacement:

100,000 people attended the planting in 1864 which was organised by the Workingmen’s Shakespeare Committee to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth in 1564. This group was set up following disappointment in the commemoration efforts of the government-appointed committee. The tree was planted by actor Samuel Phelps. Chartist poet Eliza Cooke wrote a poem and had intended to read it there herself but due to sickness could not attend so someone else read the poem.

The tree died but was replaced 100 years later, on April 23, 1964, by actor Dame Edith Evans at a smaller event organised by Society for Theatre Research. The Royal Parks Agency provided a plaque but that went missing very quickly and the RPA now have a no-plaque policy for trees, for this very reason.

Our image of the current tree comes from the CNJ but we have no idea which of the many trees on Primrose Hill it is. It's said to stand "on the slope of the hill". If you know this space perhaps, with this photo, you can find this tree?

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Shakespeare's tree

Subjects commemorated i

William Shakespeare

Born and died in Stratford-upon-Avon. His birth date is usually given as the ...

Read More

This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Shakespeare's tree

Created by i

Dame Edith Evans

Actor. Born Edith Mary Evans at 12 Ebury Square. In a stage and screen career...

Read More

Samuel Phelps

Actor/manager, born in Devonport.  In his early working life he worked on the...

Read More

Nearby Memorials

Hugh & Margaret Casson

Hugh & Margaret Casson

W8, Holland Park

Golden-Barked Ash, Fraxinus excelsior Aurea. Planted in memory of Hugh & Margaret Casson, 2000.

1 subject commemorated
Ogilvy-Webb

Ogilvy-Webb

N1, Islington Green

In July 2018 the 5 VC plaques are laid into the esplanade in front of the war memorial, reading left to right: Parslow, Booth, Train, Say...

2 subjects commemorated
Gandhi and Indo-British togetherness trees

Gandhi and Indo-British togetherness trees

WC2, India Place, India House

Nearby India House is the High Commission of India.To the north of the bust two trees have been planted each with a plaque laid into the...

2 subjects commemorated, 2 creators
Ewan MacColl

Ewan MacColl

WC1, Russell Square

The tree is in Russell Square garden beside the path on the east side. 2015: An article in the CNJ reported on a centenary gathering at ...

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Prisoners of War

Prisoners of War

WC1, Brunswick Square

Roger Robinson's pictures shows him at the planting ceremony, 14 August 2005. The tree is an English Oak.

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator