As part of the 50th anniversary since Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s family home, was opened to the public, the National Trust has launched a fundraising appeal to secure many personal items that belonged to the wartime Prime Minister. The funds will also enable new interpretation across the property, along with increased access to the collections, and the opening of family rooms that have never been seen by the public.
Part of the appeal is to acquire for the nation hundreds of precious heirlooms, many of international significance, that have been on long term loan to Chartwell. The items include Churchill’s library of inscribed books, medallions, gifts and awards that he received from around the world, including his Nobel Prize in Literature, along with personal and poignant mementoes such as the speech box in which he stored notes for his famous speeches.
“The collection at Chartwell tells us about Sir Winston Churchill the man. It is crucial that we do all we can to ensure these heirlooms stay here where he hoped they would remain,” said Katherine Barnett, Chartwell’s house and collections manager. “A successful appeal will not only allow us to secure these items but will enable us to tell Churchill’s story in new and dynamic ways as part of our wider plans for Chartwell so that one of our greatest Britons remains accessible to people of all ages.”
A successful fundraising appeal will ensure the historic collection can remain permanently at Chartwell for visitors and future generations to enjoy. The objects throughout Churchill’s home represent his long and eventful life ranging from his distinguished political and writing careers to his passions for painting, farming and wildlife.
The Trust aims to raise the money by January 2017 to secure the collection and enable the wider project work to begin.
Money can be donated to the appeal by:
- Making a donation online at nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell-revive
- Making a donation over the phone by calling 0344 800 1895
Priority objects to be acquired
- Nobel Prize in Literature – awarded to Churchill in 1953 primarily for his oratory and iconic speeches. Many of these were composed at his Chartwell home, which features prominently in the design on the accompanying diploma.
- Wooden speech box – confidential notes from Churchill’s advisers were stored in this unassuming box ready for him to transform into his rousing speeches
- Miniature paint box – one of Churchill’s great passions was painting – “If it weren’t for painting, I couldn’t live” – and this tiny silver paint box is a powerful reminder of his prolific output as an artist, much of which can be seen in the house and studio at Chartwell.
- Collection of medallions – dozens of medallions reflect a long and varied life and career and range from a fencing medallion Churchill received as a boy, to the Aachen Charlemagne Prize medallion given to him in 1953 for his tireless post-war efforts to unite Europe for peace.
- Armchair – a carved and gilt chair, upholstered in needlework, was given to Churchill as part of his Freedom Award from the people of Brighton in 1947. He assured them the chair would “always be cherished by me and my wife and by those who come after us.”
- Painting of the port of Antwerp – this oil painting, signed by the artist Isidore Opsomer in 1945, was part of the freedom of the city award from the people of Antwerp to Churchill “whose steadfast trust and fortitude paved the way to the liberation of our country, of our city, of our Port”.