Eton College, Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead SL4 6DW
University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3PA
William Douglas Home (3 June 1912 – 28 September 1992) was a British dramatist and politician. He is a mainstream playwright who has been willing to deal with the taboo subject throughout his career, from his prison play Now Barrabbas (1947), to his comedy about a transsexual, Aunt Edwina (1960), to his drama David and Jonathan (1984).
Douglas-Home (he later dropped the hyphen from his surname) was the third son of Charles Douglas-Home, 13th Earl of Home, and Lady Lilian Lambton, daughter of the 4th Earl of Durham. His eldest brother was Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964. He was educated at Ludgrove School, Eton College and New College, Oxford, where he read History. His first play, Murder in Pupil Room, was performed by his classmates at Eton in 1926 when he was only fourteen. On 26 July 1951, he married the Hon. Rachel Brand (who later inherited the barony of Dacre), the daughter of Thomas Brand, 4th Viscount Hampden and 26th Baron Dacre, and Leila Emily Seely. They had four children.
During the Second World War, Douglas-Home contested three parliamentary by-elections as an independent candidate opposed to Winston Churchill's war aim of an unconditional surrender by Germany. The political parties in the wartime Coalition Government had agreed not to contest by-elections when a vacancy arose in a seat held by the other coalition parties. At the Glasgow Cathcart by-election in April 1942, he won 21% of the votes, and at Windsor in June 1942, he won 42%. In April 1944, he came a poor third at the Clay Cross by-election, losing his deposit. He had intended to contest the St Albans by-election in October 1943, but communications difficulties with the Army Council prevented him from receiving the necessary permission soon enough to meet the deadline for nominations. Post-war, Douglas-Home stood twice as the Liberal Party candidate in Edinburgh South, in a 1957 by-election, and the 1959 general election. He told a story in The Observer Magazine that he took a morning off from the 1959 election campaign to go shooting with his brother, four years before the latter became Conservative Prime Minister in 1963. Alec uncharacteristically missed all the birds in the first drive. When William asked him what was wrong, Alec replied "I had to speak against some bloody Liberal last night!" He had been unaware that the "bloody Liberal" was his own younger brother. William's comment was : "I would have given him a lift if I'd known he was going." Previously, William had briefly been the Conservative Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Kirkcaldy Burghs before resigning over foreign policy differences. The elections in South Edinburgh had done much to revive Liberal support in the city, following as they did on the first win by a Liberal candidate in Newington Ward in the constituency. Party members were dismayed when he abruptly resigned as a member, apparently because he was not called to speak on a motion on the United Nations during a Party Conference. This was the end of his active political career.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE