Stanley Houghton Biography
(1881–1913), The Dear Departed, The Younger Generation, The Perfect Cure, Hindle Wakes
British playwright, born in Cheshire, educated at Manchester Grammar School. He went into his father's cotton business, hoping eventually to become a professional writer. Though he wrote a classic short play in The Dear Departed (1908), and though there is dramatic merit in the longer The Younger Generation (1909) and The Perfect Cure (1911), he did not achieve his ambition until the year before he died of meningitis. Hindle Wakes, which came with great success to London in 1912, remains one of the most striking achievements of the so-called ‘Manchester School’ of playwrights associated with that city's Gaiety Theatre. It is a lively comedy on Houghton's favourite theme, the right to personal freedom of the young, here represented by the weaver who appals the older generation by choosing independence rather than marriage to the mill owner's son who has made her pregnant. Houghton is clearly attacking ‘double standards’ of morality and showing the little town of Hindle, in the words of the ambiguous title, ‘waking’ to the twentieth century; he achieves this through humorous observation of character and of Lancashire.