History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: GB Shaw's writing summerhouse
GB Shaw moved into this quiet Edwardian villa in 1906, at a time when his literary fame was at its peak. He was one of the most famous writers in the world, as well as one of most often photographed. To put it in modern terms, he was a celebrity of the highest order.
Of course, the house was not called Shaw's Corner when they moved here; it was known as the Ayot St Lawrence New Rectory. They rented the property at first and kept a flat in London, but in 1920 the purchased the house outright.
The location was perfect for the Shaws; it was tucked away in a quiet rural corner of Hertfordshire, yet it was only one hour's travel from London. The Shaws loved the rural setting, and the final work that GB Shaw wrote was A Rhyming Guide to Ayot St Lawrence, a combination of verse and photographs by the author that takes the reader on his favourite walking routes around the village.
At Shaw's Corner you get to see the quiet life of the man behind some of Edwardian England's most popular works. The house is just as it was when Shaw died in 1950, full of personal belongings, including the author's favourite walking stick and hat on the stand inside the door.
Some of the objects on display are a reminder of Shaw's fame; like the bust sculpted by Rodin, and his 1926 Nobel Prize for Literature. But many more are simply objects from daily life, and his fascinating collection of books, ranging from the Bible to science fiction, from religion to social philosophy.
Shaw was a close friend of Arts and Crafts pioneer William Morris, who shared his interest in socialism, and the house is heavily decorated with original Morris & Co. textiles.
The National Trust hosts a regular calendar of events including performances of Shaw's plays.
I did not know what to expect when we visited Shaw's Corner, but I was delighted. The house is not grand or ostentatious; it looks like it was meant to be lived in, and enjoyed by Shaw and his wife Charlotte. You can see where the Shaws dined and entertained, where the writer walked through the lovely gardens below the house, and glimpse inside his wonderful little writing shed tucked into a stand of trees below the house.
Shaw's Corner is a wonderful place to visit and offers a look at the remarkable career of one of the most prolific and justly famous writers in English history.
Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.
About Shaw's Corner
Address: Aylot St Lawrence, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, England, AL6 9BX
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: At the SW end of village, 2 miles N of the B653
Website: Shaw's Corner
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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Edwardian (Historical Reference) -
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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