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Shaw’s Corner

Shaw’s Corner, now managed by the National Trust, is situated at Ayot St Lawrence, near Welwyn, Hertfordshire AL6 9BX Telephone: 01438 829221 (Infoline)

Here, you can learn more about the architecture of the house and garden. Shaw lived here from 1906 to 1950. You can find his clothes, his shoes, his glasses, his typewriter, and of course, his books.

Shaw’s Corner is an Arts and Crafts House built in 1902, in which Shaw lived for over 40 years. The main advocates of the Arts and Crafts Movement were Shaw’s friends, John Ruskin (1819-1900) and William Morris (1834-1896). This reform movement which started in the 1860s challenged Victorian materialism and restored the importance of craftsmanship and skills. It highlighted the craftsman creating beautiful objects, versus the standardized manufactured consumer products forged by industry. Look at how Shaw’s Corner reflects the features of the Arts and Crafts House:


Use of natural and simple materials--wood and stone








Low-pitched roof


Exterior chimney


Built-in shelves and cabinets


Built-in seating


The bathroom

Shaw’s Revolving Writing Hut

Here is Shaw’s famous revolving writing hut. This writing hut was built on a revolving mechanism that enabled Shaw to follow the sun. Many famous plays, including Pygmalion and Androcles and the Lion, were written in this revolving hut. According to Professor Stanley Weintraub, Shaw used the hut into his last years and last plays!

Just imagine sitting inside this hut without computer or without internet. Shaw had only their equivalents in his time: a typewriter and a telephone. The hut was complete with an electric heater and an alarm clock. It was quite fashionable to have a revolving hut.

Interior of Shaw’s Hut

The company building Shaw’s revolving writing hut, Strawson’s, is still existing. Revolving architecture is still quite common today. Have you ever been to a revolving restaurant, such as those on the CN Tower in Toronto or the Skylon Tower at Niagara Falls? You can read more about the history of revolving architecture here. The history of the revolving houses is fascinating.

Shaw Image Gallery

Here you can find images of Shaw, his context, and productions of his plays.
You can find more Shaw-related images under Shaw Image Gallery in Content of the Shaw Project.

Shaw’s Corner, managed by the National Trust

Here you can literally follow Shaw’s footsteps. First, look at Shaw’s shoes, now displayed at Shaw’s Corner. Can you guess the size of these shoes? Can you find any shoelaces? Shaw’s shoes made him very fortunate. He once laced his shoe too tightly, which resulted in an operation on his foot for necrosis. According to Professor Stanley Weintraub, “In the conditions of non-care in which he lived at 29 Fitzroy Square with his mother (the Shaws had moved again on 5 March 1887), an unhealed foot injury required Shaw’s hospitalization. On 1 June 1898, while on crutches and recuperating from surgery for necrosis of the bone, Shaw married his informal nurse, Charlotte Frances Payne-Townshend, at the office of the registrar at 15 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. He was nearly forty-two; the bride, a wealthy Irishwoman born at Londonderry on 20 January 1857, thus a half-year younger than her husband, resided in some style at 10 Adelphi Terrace, London, overlooking the Embankment.”

1898 also saw the writing of one of Shaw’s most famous works, Caesar and Cleopatra, made into a film in 1945 starring Vivien Leigh, Claude Rains and Stewart Granger directed by Gabriel Pascal. You can watch a trailer of the film here.
Caesar and Cleopatra was nominated for an Oscar which it did not win. But never mind, Shaw has an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay from Pygmalion, which is displayed also at Shaw’s Corner.

Like getting the Nobel Prize, Shaw never went to the award ceremony. Shaw said: “It’s an insult for them to offer me any honour, as if they had never heard of me before – and it’s very likely they never have. They might as well send some honour to George for being King of England”. However, the Oscar statuette did find its way to Shaw’s home, where it became so tarnished that a curator of Shaw’s Corner once used it as a door stop. Here is the statuette, restored to its original glory, displayed at Shaw’s Corner.
The bicycle found in Shaw

Another item you can find at Shaw’s Corner is a bicycle. Was Shaw a good bicycle rider? Shaw knew Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) through the Webbs since September 1895, when they had a bicycle collision in Monmouth. However, the bicycle also helps Shaw to think. He writes in the Notes to Caesar and Cleopatra: “Again, there is the illusion of “increased command over Nature,” meaning that cotton is cheap and that ten miles of country road on a bicycle have replaced four on foot. But even if man’s increased command over Nature included any increased command over himself (the only sort of command relevant to his evolution into a higher being), the fact remains that it is only by running away from the increased command over Nature to country places where Nature is still in primitive command over Man that he can recover from the effects of the smoke, the stench, the foul air, the overcrowding, the racket, the ugliness, the dirt which the cheap cotton costs us.”

Have you ever watched Harry Potter? Here is Shaw’s famous revolving writing hut. This writing hut was built on a revolving mechanism that enabled Shaw to follow the sun. Many famous plays, includingPygmalion and Androcles and the Lion, were written in this revolving hut. Just imagine sitting inside this hut without computers, without internet, and without heating or air conditioning, but writing great works.
Shaw Interior

Crossword Puzzles

How much do you know about Shaw? Here is a crossword puzzle. If you do not know the answer, you can find them from the open access and/or restricted part of the website.

Have fun!

Challenge your knowledge of Shaw

Solution at the bottom

Easy Shaw Quiz for Children
Solution at the bottom

Shaw’s Directors, Actors and Actresses
Solution at the bottom

Challenge your knowledge of Shaw Solution

Solution Easy Shaw Quiz for Children
More crossword puzzles can be found under “Content of the Shaw Project–Crossword Puzzles”

Solution Shaw’s Directors, Actors and Actresses

Productions of Pygmalion

Pygmalion remains one of the most popular plays of Shaw. Over the years, it has seen a number of performances, and even adaptations. One such example is Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe’s famous musical, My Fair Lady

Here are some productions of Pygmalion. Regarded as one of the  classic production, the 1938 film directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard features Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, and Marie Lohr. Even today, Pygmalion is being performed around the world. If you follow this link, you will find a small production of Pygmalion which takes place above a local restaurant in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Below, you’ll find an insightful interview about the workings and joys of putting on a production of G.B Shaw’s Pygmalion!

The Controversial Shaw

On the internet, though Shaw quotes remain popular and useful, he is at times a focus of controversy. Here are some examples how comments have been added to excerpts of Shaw videos showing how people interpret him.

The most notable controversy is associating Shaw with Fascism.
Copyright issues prevent our embedding this material. Please cut and paste the URL to your web browser in a new window.
The film clip from “The Soviet Story” is one of the most popular Shaw videos viewed on YouTube:
Copyright issues prevent our embedding this material. Please cut and paste the URL to your web browser in a new window.

Productions of Saint Joan

Shaw’s plays have been performed all over the world. Here you can find glimpses of various productions. Click on the links to read the reviews, the behind the scenes and see how the casts and crew prepared for the productions.

Saint Joan

National Theatre Production

Olivier, National Theatre, London, 4 July – 4 September 2007

Here are videos of the cast talking about how they prepared their roles:

Paterson Joseph who played Cauchon

Here are the reviews of the London National Theatre production of Saint Joan.
A CurtainUp London Review
Saint Joan

A review from the Guardian
Saint Joan, Olivier, National Theatre, London, 4 July – 4 September 2007
Saint Joan – National Theatre (Olivier)
Variety review
Review: Saint Joan by Bernard Shaw in the National Theatre

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Performance also staged St Joan

February 8, 1989–March 10, 1989

Watch the 2009 production here!

Let’s look at how the cast prepared for the production.

The Dauphin: Bobby Steggert
Bobby Steggert to Star in Repertory Theater of St Louis’ Saint Joan
Joan: Tarah Flanagan
Martyr, May I?: The star of the Rep’s production of Saint Joan tells Dennis what it’s like to inhabit the role
See how they performed: here are the reviews of the production
Saint Joan at The Rep
Shaw’s JOAN OF ARC Comes to St. Louis Rep’s Mainstage Through Feb. 1
Arc Triumph: The Rep assays the summit that is Shaw’s Saint Joan

Joan Monologues
Saint Joan: played by Amy Walker–a monologue from the end of the play

Here is another Joan:

A monologue by Sandrine Anterrion

Footsteps of Bernard Shaw

Video Essay: Let’s follow Shaw’s footsteps around the world!

More videos can be found under: 

“Content of the Shaw Project–Shaw Video Gallery”

Shaw was born on 26th July 1856 at 33 Synge Street, Dublin, Ireland. It was not until 1932 when he made a world tour with his wife Charlotte Payne Townshend, a wealthy Irish heiress. But before that, he went to a few places.
Shaw travelled in luxurious ocean liners, but he never forgot to talk (and write) about politics while he was travelling. He was also a good swimmer, and could play the gallant and be chivalrous to ladies. Above all, he was a human being, and would run for cover once it rained.

(Rare!) Various Scenes with George Bernard Shaw 

When Shaw was in the USA, his footsteps could be found in New York at the Metropolitan Opera House, where he made the major address on 11 April 1933 on “The Future of Political Science in America.” This talk, sponsored by the Academy of Political Science was broadcast on radio nationwide. In California, Shaw went to the spectacular castle “La Cuesta Encantada” (“The Enchanted Hill”) of William Randolph Hearstin in San Simeon.

Here is Shaw in America. Obviously, he was enjoying himself before the camera. He blew his nose, prepared himself, and noted how great it was to be able to see him, meet him in person rather than just reading his books. Playfully, he put on different expressions, and narrated anecdotes of the little girl asking for his autograph.
(Rare!) George Bernard Shaw’s First Visit To America 

Here is Shaw boarding an aeroplane: a Stinson, in San Francisco in about 1932. He honestly confessed he did not know much about this new invention.

George Bernard Shaw and the Stinson SM-6000-B