George Bernard Shaw

Shaw's Corner

Today is the birthday of the Irish playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw.
In 1906, when he was 50 years old, George and his wife Charlotte bought an ivy-covered brick country house set on almost four acres of land that ultimately became known as Shaw's Corner in Ayot St Lawrence. 
For over four decades, George wrote most of his work in his tiny writing shed in the garden at Shaw's Corner. Both Pygmalion and Heartbreak House were created in George's little writing hut.
Now, when George worked in his little hut, he sat in a straight back wicker chair and wrote using a black typewriter that was positioned on a little shelf-desk attached to the wall in the corner. George could communicate with the outside world using the wall-mounted phone that was above the desk. The hut had windows on the front and back sides, and there was a little bed built into the side opposite the desk. George wouldn't have had much room to move around other than to get to his desk, stand up, turn around, and then lie on his bed.
It was all very modest and humble except that his little summer house had a unique feature to distinguished itself - it was built on top of a revolving platform. This ingenious device made it so that the little hut could be turned to face the sun throughout the day.
When the Shaw's first bought the property, there wasn't much except for open land. Over the years, Charlotte and George worked to transform the place into a personal sanctuary.
At first, the Shaw's split time between Shaw's corner and their London house. However, as they grew older, they gravitated more and more to Shaw's corner. The Shaw's loved their garden. From family records, we know the Shaws especially enjoyed delphiniums, iris, and tulips.
And, every day, George and Charlotte would walk around the garden together every morning and keep tally the number of kilometers by adding a stone to a pile in the garden. At the age of 94, George was still actively gardening until his unexpected death after a fall. George had been pruning a tree and slipped off the ladder. After their deaths, George and Charlotte's ashes were spread over the garden paths they had loved to walk together.
To this day, George's July birthday is honored with performances of his plays in his garden.
It was George Bernard Shaw who said all of these gardening quotes:

"I have found, after a good deal of consideration, that the best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.
Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job. 
The planting of a tree is a modest form of immortality and one of the few truly long-term expressions of hope to mortal human beings.
Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs, as well as a tree does."

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw

Leave a Comment