To Journey's End and Beyond - the RC Sherriff Project Blog

Frivolity in the Sun Fire Office…R C Sherriff and the Oxford Street Times

In early 1919 R C Sherriff was demobilised from the army, and he resumed his pre-war job as an insurance clerk with the Sun Fire Office at its Oxford Street branch. He also wrote in his spare time, having possibly started to write stories and other pieces before the First World War. Oxford Street Times, […]

A class at Kingston Grammar School. Sherriff is in the middle column, third from the back, c.1908

A First Rate Sportsman…R C Sherriff’s School Days

R C Sherriff attended Kingston Grammar School from circa 1905 to 1913. In later years he would look back upon his school days with fond nostalgia, and he maintained links with the School throughout his life. His father Herbert “Pips” Hankin Sherriff was also an ex-grammar school boy, having attended Aylesbury Grammar School in Buckinghamshire […]

Studio portrait of Sherriff by unknown photographer, c. 1930s (SHC Ref. 2332/6/9/3)

Rumblings of discontent at MGM…R C Sherriff and Goodbye, Mr Chips

One of the highlights of R C Sherriff’s screenplay writing career came when he was co-nominated, along with Claudine West and Eric Maschwitz, for Best Screenplay at the 12th Academy Awards for Goodbye, Mr Chips. The film was released by MGM in May 1939 in the USA, and later premiered in London in June 1939. Held […]

Extract from page one of a letter from Mollie Cazalet to Sherriff, 18 September 1948 (SHC Ref. 2332/Box35/2)

Friends in High Places…R C Sherriff and the Cazalet Family

The success of Journey’s End brought Sherriff into contact with various influential people whom he had not had the opportunity to meet in his former life as an insurance clerk. One of these people was socialite Maud Lucia Cazalet (1868-1952), known as “Mollie” to her many friends. She was one of the daughters of Sir […]

Page one of an undated letter from Jeanne de Casalis to Sherriff, c.1934 (SHC Ref. 3813/Box3/6)

Taking on Napoleon Together…R C Sherriff and Jeanne de Casalis’s play St Helena

From his first play A Hitch in the Proceedings in 1921 to A Shred of Evidence in 1960, Sherriff usually researched and wrote his plays on a solo basis. However, the play St Helena, inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile on the island of the same name, was an exception. It was a joint project with […]

Inside of a military Christmas card from Sherriff, 14 December 1916. It was probably quite frustrating for him not to be able to tell his family where he was on Christmas Day, and to have this very impersonal Christmas card to send. (SHC Ref. 2332/7/8/2)

Christmas on the Western Front with R C Sherriff

Sherriff spent Christmas 1916 in Northern France on active service. He wasn’t with 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment at this point, as he had been temporarily attached to the 254th Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers since 25 October 1916. The Engineers had put Sherriff in joint charge of a tunnelling party of 60 men […]

Cast list for ‘A Hitch in the Proceedings’, c.1921. R C Sherriff is listed as playing the Reverend Teddington Locke, fourth from bottom in the list (SHC Ref. 2332/Box22)

The road to Journey’s EndA Hitch in the Proceedings and other early plays by R C Sherriff

Prior to Sherriff’s international success with Journey’s End in the late 1920s he had already written several plays which were performed by the Kingston Adventurers Dramatic Society, an amateur group, at the Gables Theatre in Surbiton, Surrey. The first of these was A Hitch in the Proceedings, a light hearted one-act farce which was probably […]

A pensive looking R C Sherriff in uniform, c.1918 (SCH Ref. 2332/Box12)

War ghosts and Hollywood vampires…R C Sherriff’s supernatural literary adventures

Among Sherriff’s papers are drafts of an unpublished and undated short story entitled A Ghost on Vimy Ridge? The story is narrated by an unnamed man who, like Sherriff, is commissioned from the Artists Rifles to the 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment in the autumn of 1916.  He moves with his Battalion to a reserve […]

Page one of a letter from Helga Stang to Sherriff, 10 March 1929 (SHC Ref. 3813/Box2/8)

Echoes of the Great War…Public Responses to Journey’s End

Sherriff wrote in his 1968 autobiography No Leading Lady that he was wracked by nerves when Journey’s End was first performed in late 1928 at the Apollo Theatre, London. He had already written several plays on an amateur basis, none of which had made it to the West End, and he seems to have feared […]

Herbert Hankin Sherriff examining a British helmet at Vimy Ridge, France, May 1921. Photograph taken by R C Sherriff (SHC Ref. 2332 Add)

A Civilian in the Trenches…Herbert Hankin Sherriff Explores the Western Front

Among the R C Sherriff papers are items which relate to Sherriff’s father Herbert “Pips” Hankin Sherriff. This material includes a memoir Herbert wrote of a cycling tour he undertook with his son in May 1921 of First World War battlefields in France and Belgium. It was deposited earlier this year by Kingston Grammar School, […]