The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust is considering getting security services after reporting multiple damages to the building caused by tourists.

The Trust is proposing to move the existing railings and add a fence to protect the 450-year-old house in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks.

It comes after some visitors have leaned over the railings outside the Jacobean house to steal tiles and brickwork from the walls and porch roof.

Meanwhile the railings, which date back to 1862, have been bent out of shape by visitors leaning on them while posing for pictures.

The city is full of historical buildings

While more than 600,000 tourists visit the Birthplace every year, Town Hall executives hope to get the security service in time for Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations in April, when the number of visitors highly increases on that date.

The planning application to Stratford-upon-Avon District Council states: “The reason to move the railings is to protect the frontage of the building from visitors who currently attempt to lean over the railings and touch and in some cases even remove parts of the building as souvenirs.

“An example of this has been the removal of roof tiles from the porch and bay area of the Birthplace frontage.”

The application adds: “There may also be a requirement to repair some bent sections of railings where visitors have pushed against them causing railings to have become misshapen.”

Residents in the town have expressed their anger at the plans, accusing the Birthplace Trust of “ruining the spirit” of Shakespeare.

Retired teacher Jenny Townsend, 68, said: “Shakespeare’s home has stood for more than four centuries without the need for a security fence.

“Why must we fence off the home of our nation’s most celebrated playwright?

“Part of the appeal is how close you can get to the house where he was born and raised.

Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon

“Surely security cameras or more staff to police the building is better than erecting barriers to stop one or two idiots from touching the building.”

Writing on Facebook, Arthur Lock said: “Henley Street is already quite narrow and in the busy summer period crowds will be basically kettled into a mass scrum past the house.

“Sadly, the few morons who ruin it for everyone are nothing new, indeed Shakespeare’s plays are full of them.

“Barricading visitors away from his home would ruin the spirit of Shakespeare."

Business owner John Allen, 34, said: "It's been obvious for a while that something needs to be done to protect the house.

"The railings are not preventing people from actually touching the building and several have almost been knocked over by the sheer number of people taking selfies and leaning on them."

Such events have also been recorded several times over the years.

One of the gravest damage occurred in 2017, when criminals tore irreplaceable lead pipes from Hall’s Croft leading to fears the Jacobean building could flood.

The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust has also included new lighting alongside its security plan, for the place in Henley Street to be lit at night.

Mark Ratcliffe, head of estates at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “The realignment of the railings outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace is part of the ongoing Henley Street Improvement Project that aims to create a world-class setting at the gateway to one of the world’s great cultural destinations.

“Moving the railings forward by around one metre will enclose the new external lighting being installed as part of the project.

“This is preferable for operational and safety reasons, as well as improving the general security of the Birthplace itself at street level.”