Born on the 26th of July, 1882, in Eccles, Lancashire, to his father John Southworth Brighouse and mother Charlotte Amelia née Harrison, Harold had a decently successful early life, winning a scholarship to Manchester Grammar School before he left education in order to become a textile buyer in a merchant’s office. When he moved to London in order to set up an office for his firm, he met Emily Lynes, who he married in 1907. Though he was promoted in his work, in 1908 he became a full-time writer.
His first play was Lonesome Like, though it was not the first to be produced, of which the honours go to The Doorway, which was shown in 1909 at Annie Horniman’s Gaiety Theatre in Manchester. Many of his early works were one-act plays, such as his Three Lancashire Plays (The Northerners, Zack, and The Game). However, his most successful and famous work is Hobson’s Choice, produced in 1915 originally in New York, 1916 saw production in England. It saw film treatment in 1953, produced again at the Old Vic in 1964, and revived in 2011 by the Crucible Theatre Sheffield. However, Brighouse had also involved himself in the production of novels, such as Hepplestalls.
This comedy is based around the battle of wills between a hard-headed cobbler, called Hobson and his daughter Maggie. Maggie defies Hobson by marrying his most talented worker – the timid and downtrodden Will. She helps Will to develop his potential and together they turn the tables on Hobson.