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Shaw's revolving hut

“Come out of there, you old fool. You've written enough nonsense in your life!” These were society hostess Nancy Astor's words to the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. She was no doubt joking, but by “nonsense” Lady Astor was including works like Pygmalion and Man and Superman – both of which Shaw wrote in the shed at the bottom of his garden. Granted, it was no ordinary shed…

The writing hut in question was the height of fashion in the early 20th century – a revolving hut on castors that could be moved to let in more light or change the view. It was originally intended to be his wife's summer house, but Shaw took it over in search of peace and quiet. It was close enough to the main house to be convenient (it even had a phone connection), but far enough away that his staff could tell callers with honesty that he was out.

Today, it's open to visitors at his home of 40 years – Shaw's Corner, Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire in the UK, and managed by the National Trust.

Images: ©NTPL/Matthew Antrobus

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