-An Inspector Calls-

Mr Birling

Husband of Sybil, father of Sheila and Eric. Priestley describes him as a ‘heavy-looking man’ in his mid-fifties, with easy manners but ‘rather provincial in his speech.’ He is the owner of Birling and Co, some sort of factory business which employs several girls to work on (presumably sewing) machines. He is a Magistrate and, two years ago, was Lord Mayor of Brumley. 

His business success allows the Birlings to live in upper-middle-class comfort, he is firmly capitalist, even right-wing, in his political views. Birling believes that capitalist principles of individual willpower and the protection of company profits are good for business and good for society. On the night the play takes place, he is hosting a dinner at which Gerald Croft and his daughter Sheila are guests of honour.


‘I understand a lot of things now I didn’t understand before.’

‘I’ve got to cover this up as soon as I can’

‘(unhappily) Look, Inspector – I’d give thousands – yes, thousands -‘

‘You’re the one I blame for this’

‘You! You don’t seem to care about anything. But I care. I was almost certain for a knighthood in the next Honours List’

‘There’ll be a public scandal’

‘The titanic is unsinkable absolutely unsinkable’

‘Telling me to shut up – and so on’

‘(to Mrs Birling) What’s the matter with that child?’

‘And I do not propose to give you much more rope’

‘A young unmarried girl is being dragged into this’

‘(angrily, to Inspector) Look here, I’m not going to have this, Inspector. You’ll apologise at once.’

‘I’m a public man’

‘Is there any reason why my wife should answer questions from you. Inspector?’

‘(dubiously) I must say, Sybil, that when this comes out at the inquest, it isn’t going to do us much good. The Press might easily take it up-‘

‘Be quiet Sheila’

‘You ought to have stood up to him’

‘This makes a difference, y’know. In fact, it makes all the difference’

‘Now you have brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to    a time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together – for lower costs and higher prices. ’

‘Sheila’s a lucky girl – and I think you’re a pretty fortunate young man too, Gerald’

Check out Our YT Channel