Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Sunday, 26 July 2009 12:44 UK

Shaw's joke found after 79 years

George Bernard Shaw
The handwritten joke will be on display at William Morris House in Wimbledon

A handwritten joke by the playwright George Bernard Shaw has been found in an old cupboard where it had apparently been left for 79 years.

It was found by a researcher examining archives to mark the 90th anniversary of the Wimbledon Labour Party.

Shaw sent the joke to celebrate the opening in 1930 of the Hall at William Morris House in Wimbledon.

It refers to the radical campaigns and meetings that Shaw had addressed nearly 50 years earlier.

The joke, written under a photograph of the Irish dramatist, who died aged 94 in 1950, refers to the writer and socialist campaigner William Morris.

It reads: "William Morris and I preached the gospel of Labour together on many occasions.

"Many respectable persons thought we deserved hanging. I am proud to hang in a hall dedicated to him."

Peter Walker, who discovered the note, said: "The discovery of this original picture and handwritten joke by one of our greatest playwrights is very exciting.

"It adds to our collection of artistic materials that reflect the often forgotten radical history of this area"

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