The Twickenham Museum
People : Writers, Poets and Historians

R C Sherriff
1896 - 1975

Robert Cedric Sherriff was born at 2 Seymour Road, Hampton Wick on June 6 1896. He attended Kingston Grammar School. Leaving school in 1914 he joined The Sun Insurance Company, where his father, Herbert Hankin Sherriff, worked. Later that year, on the outbreak of war, he applied for a commission in the 9th East Surrey Regiment but, as a grammar school boy, was not accepted until November 1915. He was wounded in the battle of Passchendaele in January 1917, but saw no further action in France. From 1918 until 1928 he returned, to work as an insurance adjuster for the Sun Insurance Company in London.

Journey's End

He took to writing in 1919, at first as fund-raising for a new boat for the Kingston Rowing Club. His play, “Journey's End” was first performed in December 1928. It became a huge and enduring success, with 594 performances of the first production in London.

After 5 years in Hollywood writing film scripts he returned to England, dividing his time between a farm in Dorset and a house in Esher which he shared with his mother.

It is noted in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography that “Sherriff, who never married, was devoted to his mother. Lacking self-confidence, he preferred the company of people younger than himself. He was an endearingly kind and gentle man, qualities evident in his memoir, No Leading Lady (1968). He spent much of his life, after his early success, at his home, Rosebriars, Esher Park Avenue, Esher, Surrey, later adding to this a farm in Dorset. He was elected FSA and FRSL. He died at Kingston Hospital, Kingston upon Thames, on 13 November 1975.”

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