Bill Naughton

Photo:Bill Naughton

Bill Naughton

www.doolee.com

Photo:Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

www.publicdomain.net

Photo:BBC Logo

BBC Logo

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Photo:Ballasalla, Isle of Man

Ballasalla, Isle of Man

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Photo:Cloister Rushen Abbey, Isle of Man.

Cloister Rushen Abbey, Isle of Man.

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Photo:Coast of Isle of Man with Port Erin.

Coast of Isle of Man with Port Erin.

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Photo:Kenny /Naughton Centr

Kenny /Naughton Centr

Ann Cresham Collection

Playwright and Dramatist

Noelene Beckett Crowe. M.G.G.

This man was a talented and a successful Playwright also a Novelist who is remembered in Co. Mayo and further afield today. A short story competition, administered by the Kenny / Naughton Society to honour him is held annually in his native Aughamore in Co. Mayo. [i]

This labourer turned world playwright and author Bill Naughton (full name William John Francis) was born on June 10th, 1910 in Ballyhaunis,  Co. Mayo. His father was from Carrowkeel, Ballyhaunis, his mother nee Fleming from Tubber, Aughamore his mother was Fleming from Tubber, Aughamore. . His family emigrated to Bolton, Lancashire, England during 1914. He attended school at St. Peter and St. Paul’s in Bolton. On completing his education he was employed in various positions such as a coal–bagger, weaver. During WW2 Naughton joined a Civil Defense Unit as a driver.  [ii] 

His first wife was Nan Wilson they had three children, when the marriage broke up - she remarried twice, he married the Austrian born Erna Pirot who was wife, nurse, also guardian of his literary legacy later in life.  [iii]  her demise in September 2014. [iv]

Writing Career

Bill Naughton wrote many successful Novels and Plays plus Children’s books , among them: his first publication was ; “A Roof Over Your Head” (1945), [v]  followed by “One Small Boy” (1957), “All In Good Time”( 1964), “Spring and Port Wine” was staged at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton Theatre in 1965, the first of many of his plays.  He published an Autobiographical Trilogy; “On the Pig’s Back”, an Autobiographical Excursion (1987), “Saintly Billy, A Catholic Boyhood.” (1988) plus “Neither Use nor Ornament; A Memoir of Bolton, 1920’s during 1995.   His work “Alfie” was made into a film.  [vi]He wrote for the humorous Magazine “Lilliput.”  [vii] 

B. B. C.

He worked for the television Industry by contributing short stories and plays.  Naughton’s play “June Evening" was televised by the B.B.C. during July 1960, nine months previous to the first edition of “Coronation Street.”  [viii]

Awards

  • Screen writes Guide award 1967/1968
  • Prixitalia Prize for Radio Play “The Mystery” in 1974
  • Portico Literary Award in 1987
  • Children’s Rights Workshop Award 1988
  • The Hon. Fellowship, Bolton Institute Higher Education in 1988    
  •  [ix] www.aughamoreireland.com 

Isle of Man

Naughton sold the rights to “Alfie” then he and Erna moved to Ballasalla in the Isle of Man. Naughton’s Autobiographical Trilogy, written while he was in his 70’s was an insightful humorous look at life, the last entitled “Neither Use nor Ornament; A Memoir of Bolton” during 1995.”

Bill Naughton died on January 9th 1992 aged 81. He is buried at Rushen, near Port Erin on the Isle of Man. His wife, Erna acted as patron of the Kenny / Naughton Autumn School in Aughamore, Co. Mayo after his death until her demise in September 2014.

Legacy

During July 2002 Bolton Council successfully purchased the Bill Naughton Archive that was offered for sale by Sotheby’s for 80,000 with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Friends of the National Libraries, the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent also the Bolton Institute. The Council provided funds for the cataloging also the conservation of the material.  [x]  There is an eighty- five adaptable Studio within the Octagon Theatre named after Naughton.  His novels and plays feature on British school Curricula.  [xi] The Kenny / Naughton Autumn School in Aughamore, Co. Mayo host a Short Story Competition annually in his honour.  [xii]


[i] www.aughamoreireland.com - Naughton Society

[ii] www.aughamoreireland.com - Naughton Society

[iii] Mayo News, January 6th 2015, article by Paul Rogers 

[iv] www.aughamoreireland.com - Naughton Society

[v] New York Times, January 11th 1992, article by Clenn Collins

[vi] wikipedia.com - Bill Naughton 

[vii] New York Times, January 11th 1992

[viii]  www.boltonlams.co.uk- Bll Naughton

[ix] www.aughamoreireland - Bill Naughton

[x]    www.boltonlams.co.uk- Bill Naughton

[xi]  Wikipedia.com - Bill Naughton

[xii] New York Times, January 11th 1992.

This page was added by Mayo Genealogy Group on 05/03/2015.

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