Letter from George Bernard Shaw

Posted by Rachel Kneale on 21 Feb 2023

Modified by Rachel Kneale on 21 Feb 2023

George Bernard Shaw

The MGS archive holds a collection of five literary letters sent by various luminaries and in the second of a three-part series, we will look at this postcard from George Bernard Shaw. It was written to the organisers of the Stanley Houghton Memorial Fund in June 1914. It reads:

16th June 1914 – The Stanley Houghton Memorial

I shall certainly not support the monstrous proposal to make the drama a school subject and thereby propagate an incurable loathing of it among the future citizens of Manchester.
Why not endow a guarantee fund to enable the Gaiety Theatre to give performances of his works every year, or to produce one new play by a Manchester beginner? That is the proper way to keep his memory green and fertile
G. Bernard Shaw

Stanley Houghton attended MGS for a year between 1896 and 1897. He went on to write a number of plays, the most notable being Hindle Wakes. With his contemporary at MGS, Harold Brighouse, he was part of the “Manchester School” of dramatists who were active in the early 20th century. MGS has produced a number of noted writers including Thomas de Quincey, Louis Golding, Ernest Bramah, Harrison Ainsworth and Robert Bolt.

In the letter Shaw replies to a request to donate money to a memorial fund set up by Houghton’s father and the Old Mancunian Association. The fund would be used to award a scholarship for the study of Drama. Despite Shaw’s misgivings, the scholarship was set up. Boys competing for the award took an examination on a dramatic subject and the successful candidate was given £10. Frank Voyce, who had written on behalf of the OMA, gave the letter to the school in 1970.

Rachel Kneale


N. Crowther

1 Like Posted one year ago

 GBS comes across as a strong personality who expects to be listened to. Nice clear writing with lots of loops.

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