Tag: Irrepressible Churchill

“Bring a friend if you have one”

“Bring a friend if you have one”

Alas the famous exchange between Churchill and George Bernard Shaw is  fic­tion.

Accord­ing to the usu­al­ly reli­able Kay Halle, in her quo­ta­tions book Irre­press­ible Churchill (Cleve­land: World, 1966, page 116), Shaw wrote to Churchill in 1924: “Am reserv­ing two tick­ets for you for my pre­miere. Come and bring a friend—if you have one.”

Churchill, Halle says, replied: “Impos­si­ble to be present for the first per­for­mance. Will attend the second—if there is one.” Finest Hour edi­tor Dal­ton New­field explained in the 1970s that the play in ques­tion was Shaw’s “St. Joan.”

But Allen Pack­wood, direc­tor of the Churchill Archives Cen­tre, has just come across an cor­re­spon­dence in a remote cor­ner of the Churchill Papers (CHUR 2/165/66,68) in which both Shaw and Churchill deny the exchange:

“A Mr.…

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