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Walter Greenwood Biography

(1903–74), Love on the Dole, No Limit, His Worship the Mayor, My Son My Son

novel british time boy

British novelist and playwright, born in Salford, Lancashire. He left school at the age of 13 and, between long periods of unemployment, worked as an office boy, stable boy for a cotton millionaire, signwriter, chauffeur, warehouseman, and salesman. His early experiences of deprivation provided the background for his first and most famous novel, Love on the Dole (1933), which made a great impact at the time, and contributed significantly to the popular pressures which eventually led to the founding of the welfare state, through its descriptions of hardship brought about by the Depression, the humiliations imposed by the means test, and the desperation caused by mass unemployment. With Roland Gow, Greenwood adapted the novel into a successful play; it was also filmed in 1941. Greenwood also wrote the screenplay No Limit (1935) for the comedian George Formby, and wrote many other novels, including His Worship the Mayor (1934), which exposed corruption in local government. His plays include My Son My Son (1935), The Cure for Love (1951), and Saturday Night at the Crown (1953). There Was a Time (1967) is his autobiography. Randall Stevenson discusses Greenwood in The British Novel Since the Thirties (1986). Greenwood foreshadowed later Northern working-class novelists such as John Braine and David Storey.

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