Remembering the YMCA Shakespeare Hut

An important part of Central YMCA's history, plans to commemorate the hut’s opening a hundred years ago are now gathering pace
17 May 2016

Like Central YMCA, London has an amazing ability to develop and change with the times. The city is full of spaces where new buildings have appeared leaving the memory of what they replaced to slowly fade.

One such building was the YMCA Shakespeare Hut, erected for the third centenary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916 on a site in Bloomsbury not far from Central YMCA's current home.

The hut was primarily built to provide entertainment and shelter to New Zealand servicemen, on leave from the World War One frontline. But following its demolition in 1924, the site became home to London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

It’s memory has not been entirely forgotten, however – especially in New Zealand. And this year the LSHTM plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of YMCA Shakespeare Hut’s opening on 11 August 1916 at the school’s Keppel Street site.

The school hopes to stage an audio-visual exhibition by Digital Drama and an afternoon of performances by The Mustard Club on 11 August 2016, to re-imagine the 1916 official opening of the Hut.

Pictures with thanks to Glenn R Reddiex, author of ‘Just to let you know I'm still alive ‐ Postcards from New Zealanders during the First World War', published by Grantham House (2015).