Happy New Year everyone!
This is my first post of 2015 and I hope it is a good one! On New Years Day I went on a short holiday to Warwick and while I was there I wanted to visit some Doctor Who locations around those parts. I went on to the fact-filled Doctor Who – The Locations Guide and discovered that filming for The Shakespeare Code (2007) had taken place in the area!
I had already been to The Globe Theatre and now was my chance to explore more locations from The Shakespeare Code. I had only just finished learning about the Tudor times at school so this was a surprise for me and I was excited about seeing some real Tudor buildings. The Shakespeare Code was Martha’s first time-travel adventure with the Doctor and he took her to Elizabethan London in 1599.
My first stop was Cheylesmore Manor in Coventry which was very easy to find as it was very close to where I parked my TARDIS! Cheylesmore Manor is now part of Coventry Register Office and while I was there people were arriving for appointments. What a cool place to have your wedding photos taken, it is the oldest Register Office building in the whole country and opened as a Register Office in 1968.
The current building is only part of the original manor house. It was first built in 1237 for the Earl of Arundel and was then owned by Queen Isabella, Edward II’s wife before passing to her son Edward the Black Prince.
I could immediately recognise the building as All Hallows Street, home to the Carrionites. I was most excited to see the window which Lilith leaned out of to watch Wiggins sing to her. Later in the episode she escapes out of the window with her doll of the Doctor leaving him for dead, and levitates outside . Luckily there weren’t any psychokinetic Carrionites around while I was there!
Next I found my way to Ford’s Hospital, a few streets away. The exterior was used for The Elephant Inn where Shake-a- spear stayed. Ford’s Hospital was built in 1509 by local merchant William Ford. It was constructed as almshouses for men and women. An almshouse is a house which is funded by charity for poor people to live in, usually elderly people who can no longer work.
After 1800 it became a home for women only. Unfortunately the building was hit by a bomb during World War 2 and sadly eight people died. The building was restored in 1953 using original materials.
You can see through to the courtyard which was used in the episode as an Elizabethan street although I didn’t go in because it is private and still used as sheltered accommodation. If you would like to see some photos taken during filming please see the Historic Coventry website.
It must be so cool to live in an original Tudor building! I wonder what William Ford would say if he knew his almshouse would still be there in 500 years?
After Ford’s Hospital I spent a few hours exploring Coventry.
In the afternoon I went to the Coventry Transport Museum and I found a tiny Time And Relative Dimension in Space! The TARDIS was part of a big collection of models collected by a collector called Tibor Reich and has been shown on Blue Peter. If you ever get a chance to go this great museum see if you can spot the TARDIS too!
Late that afternoon I returned to Warwick and went to The Lord Leycester Hospital. Like Ford’s Hospital it is not a hospital for sick people as we would know it, the word ‘hospital’ meant “a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged” in Tudor times. The buildings date back to the 14th Century but became a retirement home for old warriors during Elizabethan times. Even today the building still provides homes for ex-servicemen and their wives.
I recognised that this was the location where the TARDIS and the Doctor and Martha arrived in Elizabethan London and Martha asked “when are we?” – a useful time-traveller phrase which she used for the first time. They narrowly avoided being covered in pee when someone emptied their chamber pot out of the upstairs window!
The outside of the building was used for the street scenes and the area outside the Elephant Inn. The Doctor and Martha were chased back there by Queen Elizabeth I’s guards and the TARDIS was hit by arrows ( like in Robot of Sherwood (2014)!) but luckily the TARDIS de-materialised in time!
I had a great day in Coventry and Warwick and hope you enjoyed reading about it. I hope I can go back that way another time and check out more Doctor Who filming locations. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon to check out more of my adventures through time and space!
Parting is such sweet sorrow! Goodbye!