Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St Lawrence


+ Introduction and the FILM. + Timeline: The Life of Bernard Shaw + Bibliography (1200w)


The Reminiscences: ‘Guff and Bunk and Bugaboo’. (20,400w)


The Ideas: ‘P.P.E. and G.B.S!’ (11,600w)


Ten Talks on Music: ‘Music for Deaf Stockbrokers’. (24,700w)


GBS Quotations: ‘A Shavian Scrapbook’. (15,100w)


The Play: ‘The Intelligent Golfer’s Guide to Bernard Shaw’ (11,500w)


The Abridged Play ‘Shaw’s Corner’ (4,300w)


Shaw’s Corner – front of house


POST ONE: Introduction / FILM / Timeline / Bibliography


This section of is dedicated to Oscar Wilde’s great contemporary and fellow Dubliner George Bernard Shaw.

Shaw described himself as ‘a writing machine’ and estimated that he wrote 10,000 words for every day of his adult life.

While in the process of creating a one-man play about GBS, I trawled my way through as much of his work and the voluminous biographies as I could. It took two years and I ended up with a huge amount of material. In an effort to organise it, I reduced what I wanted to retain into three long essays.

The first, entitled ‘GUFF AND BUNK AND BUGABOO’, related to what I considered might be Shaw’s general views on his own life and life in general.

The second, entitled ‘P.P.E. AND G.B.S.’, concerned his views on economics and religion, and his political philosophy – the area that I think Shaw would consider to be his most important contribution to the world.

The third, called ‘MUSIC FOR DEAF STOCKBROKERS’, was taken from the musical reviews that he wrote in the 1880s and contains many hilarious takes on the now legendary composers and performers who he witnessed at first hand.

The work that did not find its way into the above three essays, I lumped together in lists of related quotes – called ‘A SHAVIAN SCRAPBOOK’.

Having reduced this vast mass of material to these hopefully coherent groupings, I was still left with three essays and one quotable quotes section that were 70,000 words long. Not exactly suitable for the theatre.

Therefore I wrote a full length two hour monologue called ‘THE INTELLIGENT GOLFER’S GUIDE TO BERNARD SHAW’ that combined the best of the essays into one continuous narrative.

In a further reduction for practical purposes, this monologue was distilled to a 45 minute version entitled ‘SHAW’S CORNER’. I was immeasurably aided by two very fine performances of this play, namely:

‘SHAW’S CORNER’ was televised in 1987 starring Dermot Walsh and eventually was broadcast in over twenty countries. (Dermot Walsh 1924-2002. In 1949 he made his first London stage appearance under GBS’s direction in Shaw’s ‘Buoyant Billions’.)

The first stage performance of ‘SHAW’S CORNER’ was performed in 1990 by the late Malcolm Wroe, also a fine poet, at the Black Horse Inn, Kentish Town, London (and many other venues thereafter).





1856 -1950

1856 – Born at 35, Synge St., Dublin.

1861 – Attended first of four Dublin schools, the Wesleyan Connexional.

1868 – Family moved to Vandeleur Lee’s house at Hatch St., Dublin.

1871 – Employed by Dublin estate agent, Townshend.

1872 – His mother and sisters left for London; he stayed with his father in Harcourt St., Dublin.

1876 – Left the estate agency and joined his mother in London.

1879 – Employed by Edison Telephone Co. for a few months. Joined Zetetical Society and met Sidney Webb. Wrote his first novel, ‘Immaturity’.

1880 – Wrote second novel, ‘The Irrational Knot’.

1881 – Wrote third novel, ‘Love among The Artists’. Contracted smallpox and ceased to shave. Turned vegetarian after reading Shelley.

1882 – Wrote fourth novel, ‘Cashel Byron’s Profession’. Converted to Socialism after hearing a speech by the American Henry George.

1883 – Wrote fifth and last novel, ‘An Unsocial Socialist’. None were published.

1884 – Joined the Fabian Society.

1885 – Moved with his mother to Fitzroy Square, London. Began, then abandoned his first play, ‘Widowers’ Houses’. Lost his virginity to Jennie Patterson.

1886 – Became art critic for ‘The World’.

1887 – Participated in the ‘Bloody Sunday’ riot in Trafalgar Square. Edited Fabian Essays.

1888 – Became music critic for the Star under the name of ‘Corno di Bassetto’.

1890 – Music critic for ‘The World’.

1892 – Finished his first play, ‘Widowers’ Houses’. Began his correspondence with the actress Ellen Terry.

1893 – Wrote ‘The Philanderer’ and ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’.

1894 – Resigned as music critic. Wrote ‘Arms and the Man’ and ‘Candida’. ‘Arms and the Man’ was performed in London and New York.

1895 – Dramatic critic for the Saturday Review. Wrote ‘The Man of Destiny’ and ‘You Never Can Tell’. First meeting with H. G. Wells, also learnt to cycle.

1896 – Wrote ‘The Devil’s Disciple’.

1897 – Became a vestryman (borough councillor) of St Pancras, North London.

1898 – Recovered from illnesses and accidents. Resigned as drama critic. Married Charlotte Payne-Townshend. Wrote ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’.

1899 – Wrote ‘Captain Brassbound’s Conversion’.


Shaw’s Corner – front

1900 – Moved to his wife’s flat at Adelphi Terrace, London.

1903 – Resigned from St. Pancras Council. Finished ‘Man and Superman’.

1904 – Wrote ‘John Bull’s Other Island’. Defeated as candidate for the London County Council. Moved to Welwyn, Hertfordshire. Joined Vedrenne/Barker to develop the Royal Court Theatre.

1905 – Revisited Ireland after 29 years of absence. Wrote ‘Major Barbara’. Moved to a new house at Ayot St. Lawrence, Herts.

1906 – Wrote ‘The Doctor’s Dilemma’. Went to France to sit for the sculptor Rodin.

1908 – Wrote ‘Getting Married’.

1909 – Wrote ‘The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet’ and ‘Misalliance’.

1910 – Wrote ‘The Dark Lady of the Sonnets’.

1911 – Wrote ‘Fanny’s First Play’.

1912 – Wrote ‘Androcles and the Lion’, ‘Overruled’, and ‘Pygmalion’.

1913 – Wrote ‘Great Catherine’. Helped to found the New Statesman magazine.

1914 – Wrote ‘Common Sense About the War’.

1916 – Wrote ‘O’Flahertie V.C.’, ‘The Inca of Perusalem’, and ‘Augustus Does His Bit’.

1917 – Wrote ‘Annajanska’. Toured the Western Front at the invitation of General Haig.

1919 – Finished ‘Heartbreak House’.

1920 – Blanche Patch became his secretary. He finished ‘Back to Methusalah’.

1923 – Wrote ‘St. Joan’.

1924 – First broadcast of a Shaw play (‘O’Flahertie V.C.’). Theatre censor lifted the ban on ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’.

1925 – Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.

1928 – Published ‘The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism’.

1929 – Wrote ‘The Applecart’ for the first Malvern Festival.

1930 – His first play was filmed. Published his first novel ‘Immaturity’.

1931 – Wrote ‘Too True To Be Good’. Visited USSR and met Josef Stalin. His correspondence with Ellen Terry was published.

1932 – Visited South Africa. Wrote ‘The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God’. Embarked on a round-the-world cruise.

1933 – Visited America, stopping at Hollywood and staying one night in New York. Wrote ‘On the Rocks’ and ‘Village Wooing’.

1934 – Wrote ‘The Six of Calais’ and ‘The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles’. Visited New Zealand.

1935 – Wrote ‘The Millionairess’. He met the film director Gabriel Pascal and began their cinematic association.

1938 – Suffered then recovered from pernicious anaemia. Wrote ‘Geneva’.

1939 – Wrote ‘In Good King Charles’ Days’.

1940 – ‘Major Barbara’ filmed.

1942 – Retired from the Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

1943 – Wrote ‘Everybody’s Political What’s What’. Death of his wife, Charlotte.

1946 – Radio broadcast on his ninetieth birthday. Made a Freeman of Dublin and St. Pancras.

1947 – Finished ‘Buoyant Billions’. Shaw radio festival broadcast by BBC.

1949 – Wrote ‘Far Fetched Fables’.

1950 – Fell while pruning an apple tree. Died at his home in Ayot St. Lawrence.

Shaw’s Corner – front


1) The Bodley Head Bernard Shaw: Collected Plays and Prefaces.  (7 Volumes)

2) Collected Letters of Bernard Shaw. Ed. Dan H. Lawrence.         (4 Volumes)

3) The Bodley Head Bernard Shaw: Shaw’s Music. (3 Volumes)

4) Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence. Ed. Mary Hyde. (John Murray)

5) Ellen Terry and Bernard Shaw: A Correspondence. Ed. C. St. John. (Reinhardt & Evans)

6) Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell: Their Correspondence. Ed. Alan Dent. (Victor Gollancz Ltd)

7) Advice to a Young Critic: Bernard Shaw.  (Peter Owen Ltd.)

8) Our Theatres in the Nineties. By Bernard Shaw.  (Constable) (2 Volumes)

9) Cashel Byron’s Profession. By Bernard Shaw. (Tauchnitz Edition, 1914)

10) An Unsocial Socialist. By Bernard Shaw. (Virago)

11) Immaturity. By Bernard Shaw. (Constable)

12) The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism. By Bernard Shaw. (Constable)

13) What I Really Wrote About The War. By Bernard Shaw. (Constable)

14) Essays in Fabian Socialism. By Bernard Shaw. (Constable)

15) Everybody’s Political What’s What? By Bernard Shaw. (Constable)

16)  The Political Madhouse in America and Nearer Home. By Bernard Shaw. (Constable)

17) The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God: Bernard Shaw. (Penguin)

18) Selected Passages from the Works of Bernard Shaw. Ed. Charlotte Shaw. (Constable)

19) Sixteen Self Sketches. By Bernard Shaw. (Constable)

20) Platform and Pulpit: Lectures by Bernard Shaw. Ed. Dan H. Lawrence. (Hart-Davies)

Shaw’s Corner – Gate


 1) Bernard Shaw. By Eric Bentley. (Robert Hale Ltd).

2) Thirty Years with G.B.S. By Blanche Patch. (Victor Gollancz)

3) The Bogus Image of Bernard Shaw. By R. J. Minney. (Leslie Frewin)

4) Days with Bernard. Shaw. By Stephen Winsten. (Hutchinson)

5) The Devil and His Disciple. By Valerie Pascal. (Michael Joseph.)

6)  Shaw in His Time. By Ivor Brown. (Nelson)

7) Bernard Shaw. By Frank Harris. (Victor Gollancz)

8) Private Shaw and Public Shaw. By Stanley Weintraub. (Jonathan Cape)

9) The Loves of Bernard Shaw. By C.G.L. du Cann. (Arthur Barker Ltd)

10) Bernard Shaw and the Actresses. By Margot Peters. (Doubleday)

11) The Genius of Shaw. Ed. Michael Holroyd. (Hodder and Stoughton)

12) George Bernard Shaw. By G. K. Chesterton. (Bodley Head)

13) George Bernard Shaw. By G. E. Brown. (Evans Ltd)

14) The Adventures of Gabriel in his Search for Mr. Shaw. By W. R. Matthews. (Hamish Hamilton)

15) Bernard Shaw: a Reassessment. By Colin Wilson. (Macmillan)

16) Bernard Shaw; His Life and Personality. By Hesketh Pearson. (Collins)

17) G.B.S. A Postscript. By Hesketh Pearson. (Collins)

18) G.B.S. 90. Ed. Steven Winsten. (Hutchinson)

19) Jesting Apostle. By Steven Winsten. (Hutchinson)

20) Bernard Shaw: His Life, Work and Friends. By St. John Ervine. (Constable)

21) The Real Bernard Shaw. By Maurice Colbourne. (J. M. Dent Ltd.)

22) Shaw: George versus Bernard. By J.P. Hackett. (Sheed & Ward)

23) Bernard Shaw’s Rhyming Picture Guide to Ayot St. Lawrence. (Leagrave Press)

Shaw’s Corner – front door

 [N.B. Although my writings were completed prior to their publication, anybody interested in the life of GBS should read Sir Michael Holroyd’s definitive trilogy ‘Bernard Shaw’.]