W. S. Graham

The poet William Sydney Graham (1918-1986) was born in Greenock at 1 Hope Street on 19 November 1918.  The family moved to Brisbane Street and from there Sydney, as he was usually called, attended Finnart School.  When he left school he worked for a time in a bank but went on to study engineering and worked at Hasties.   During the war he worked in the Torpedo Factory.   Friends described him as clever, “a bit of an intellectual” and rather quiet and reserved though very pleasant.  However, they found his poetry, which he began writing at an early age a bit difficult to understand.  After the war he moved away from the town and he became well established as a poet in international literary circles.    He died in Cornwall on 9 January 1986

There are several websites that tell of his life and work among them that of his friend Harold Pinter; www.haroldpinter.org

His work has also featured on many radio programmes and a play about his life has been broadcast several times over the last few years, “Do Not Expect Applause”.




1 Hope Street, Greenock





Graham’s home in Cornwall