Today I learned something. Always a good day when that happens.
Today I learned that the Shakespeare Birthplace — as in, the home where our beloved playwright was born — was almost shipped to the United States, brick by brick, in the 1800s. The mastermind behind this plan was none other that P.T. Barnum, who is perhaps best known as one half of the famed Barnum and Bailey Circus. It’s also a famous quote of his that I borrowed for the subject line : there’s a sucker born every minute.
I wonder if Barnum was a little like the Donald Trump of his day? Sees something he likes, and more importantly something he can own for himself and make money from, and says, “How much? Name your price.” We can assume that he would have stamped his name on it as soon as the last brick was placed in New York. P.T. Barnum presents William Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
Alas, Barnum was foiled in his attempt by, in his own words from his 1855 memoir, “some English gentleman who got wind of the deal” and got some friends together to buy the house for 3000 pounds, keeping it in England.
That English gentleman’s name?
And now you know…..the rest of the story.