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Vol. I. ~ No. 4

"Challenge to Change" Why The World Loved G B Shaw

Born in 1856 to 1950, George Bernard Shaw was a man of many talents. One of them was, not being afraid to stand up for the common man. Shaw was a gentle caring Humansist who believed in the freedom of 'challlenge to Change' & this was his mission in life to Challenge the Stuffy Victorian buerocracy through writing plays.

Coming from a poor middle class Irish family who relied on humour to get through their day, Shaw was to use his wit to become one of the most respected comic playwrite's of his time. He used the trick of making his middle class to rich Aristocracy audiences, laugh at themselve's without them even being aware of doing so.

He used the classic title of GBS to create what he called 'the bafoon' a sort of clown who made people laugh at the serious issues of the day. Gradually the Governemt & Local Councils came to realise Shaw made sense & slowely but surley some things began to be improved. i.e better housing conditions, more education avaliable to the poor & the introduction of a free bottle of milk everyday for each child to combat Rickets a common condition that weakens the bones & makes the legs bend & of course milk is a protein & full of calcium.

For poor children who never drank milk in their home, this was neccessary. All around him was poverty. Poverty which he thought was uneccessary & was used in order to keep the masses down.

As one per cent of the UK population lived the luxury life with servants to care for their everyday needs, the rest of them were starving. People were either living on the streets or living 10 to a room in disgusting sanitary conditions & very little food, no work & no privacy.

Through over 69 plays & hundreds of pamphlets, Shaw wrote about every subject known to man at that time. To ensure the poor could read his work his used Penguine books to spread the word. His writings were strictly under 'his' control alllowing 'no-one' else to have the right to change a word.

The newspapers around the world adored him, so his work spread throughout. Even the poor in Russia loved GBS & when he visited the country in the 1930's at the request of Stalin, the Russian peasants crowded the streets to see & to speak to 'their man'. Pictures of Shaw dancing & playing football in the streets with children, made headline news.

He used publicity to enrich his cause, but he was a deeply shy & private person who grew to hate the constant publicity expected of him. There were times when GBS just wanted to be private Shaw & maybe go on a holiday, or even more important, stay at home & "write".

It was impossible to get the peace he needed as he
was constantly bombarded with hundreds of requests each day. He declared himself 'A Writing Machine' & said to one young newpspaper journalist, who became a friend of mine when I lived at Shaw's home, Shaw's Corner, "Hello, welcome, now you have seen 'The Animal"!

Of course this was said in good humour, but an animal shaw did feel towards the end of his life, for their were times when he went out to enjoy his garden & a photographer or journalist would pounce out of the bushes running after a fragile GBS as if he were a hunted

He was always courteous even in the these infuriating conditions. He understood even newspaper men needed to feed their families. There are many things Shaw did & to write about everything would need six
volumes of hardbacked paper. Shaw was a genius who loved life & cared for the world around him.

His interests were, writing, music, the art's, film,theatre, drama, politics, vegetarianism, pugalism,photography, the list goes on. It was inevitable that such a man would cross my path & I am proud to have lived at Shaws home & be Custodian from 1989 to 1997.

I am a Shaw expert & own the G B Shaw Information & Research Service
which helps to keep the name of Shaw out there. I have just started writing my book, which will be a different take on anything else written about this incredible man & bring him into the 21st Century.

Shawdiane (c)
Diane Shireen Uttley
Custodian 1989 to 1997