Shakespeare's father John was a glove maker and an alderman of Stratford-upon-Avon (rather like a town councillor today).

One of John's duties was to attend meetings. Here a committee would make decisions on the pressing local issues - like improving Stratford's roads.

The woodcut suggests how these meetings might have looked - at least before John was expelled in 1586. He had turned up only once in ten years! However, his religious beliefs and a breakdown in his business may have equally been at issue. [Click here to show full image]

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An aldermen's meeting.
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