3 June 2015
Tribute to Mary Soames
Address to the 32nd International Churchill ConferenceBy D. Craig Horn
I rise to pay tribute to our friend and our patron, Dame Mary, The Lady Soames.
Lady Soames was “History’s Daughter” as proclaimed by Vogue magazine in August of 2012. She took her responsibilities seriously and with aplomb, whether leading the 481 Battery in action at Hyde Park as a 20-year-old, or hosting a gala dinner party at the British Embassy in Paris (What Mary called “her posh life”) or Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, or dining with Roosevelt, Stalin or Truman, or accompanying her Papa on many of his travels. She was also extremely proud to have chaired the National Theater where she got to know all of the cleaning ladies as well as the artistic aristocracy. Mary met and dined with the greatest of the great. In addition to Presidents, Czars and Kings, she was friends with Charlie Chaplin and Lawrence of Arabia, as Randy Barber and Laurence Geller, to name only a few of our own “glitterati.”
Mary Soames was a great giver; a giver of time, talent, warmth and model. Her commitment to Chartwell, the National Trust, the Churchill Memorial trust, the Churchill Archives Centre and the National Theater was critical to their very existence as well as their longevity.
Most of us came to know Lady Soames as the Patron of The Churchill Centre. She attended many, in fact most, of the International Conferences such as this and was always front and center. “Please don’t treat me like an old lady,” she would say, firmly turning down almost all offers of assistance.
6 April 2015
Get your digital copies of the eight-volume Winston S. Churchill
The Churchill Centre is pleased to announce that the Official Biography, Winston S. Churchill
, is now available for download on Amazon's Kindle.
Rosetta Books along with Hillsdale College has published all eight volumes of Winston S. Churchill
in digital format, bringing this highly acclaimed masterpiece firmly into the 21st century. The volumes are all now fully searchable and include the ability to bookmark and make personal notations throughout. You can easily return to your favourite passages time after time, online, in your browser or on any device.
You even don't need to own a Kindle! The Kindle Reader app is available on most platforms*. Set up an account on Amazon.com and the download the Kindle Reader.Click Here to Visit the Rosetta Books Website for Links
The authors of the official biography of Sir Winston Churchill, his son Randolph and then later Sir Martin Gilbert, had the full access to the complete archive of Sir Winston's letters and papers.
10 March 2015
In 1999, Winston S. Churchill appeared on the U.S. television network CSPAN to discus his book, The Great Republic: A History of America
, published by Random House. He edited the book using the writings of his grandfather, Sir Winston Churchill.
His grandfather Sir Winston Churchill, who was British prime minister, won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for his four-volume, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
, published by Dodd, Mead, and Company. That book contains the history of the American Republic up to 1900. In Great Republic
, speeches and essays of Prime Minister Churchill were used to update U.S. history to the mid-twentieth century.
20 February 2015
Fifty years after his death, Winston Churchill has emerged as a star on an unexpected platform: New York theater.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL—February 20, 2015. The likeness of the “British Bulldog” is appearing on two stages this season. On Broadway, Churchill is among the prime ministers who meet with Queen Elizabeth II, played by Helen Mirren, in “The Audience,” opening March 8 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. At off-Broadway’s New World Stages, the one-man show “Churchill” has sold so briskly ahead of its Wednesday opening that it already has extended its run.
The timing is just right: 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death, on Jan. 24, 1965, and all year, the legacy of the Nobel Prize-winning wartime leader will be extensively celebrated.
An online hub, Churchillcentral.com
, has been created to list information and events. The Royal Mint has struck Winston Churchill 2015 coins. London Mayor Boris Johnson has published a best-selling book, “The Churchill Factor,” ahead of the 50th anniversary. And at a December auction at Sotheby’s in London, several of Churchill’s own paintings sold for prices that far exceeded estimates—one setting an artist record by selling for £1.8 million ($2.7 million) after an estimate of £400,000 to £600,000.
“There has never been a stronger interest in Churchill,” said Barry Singer, proprietor of Midtown Manhattan’s Chartwell Booksellers, which bills itself as the world’s only Winston Churchill bookshop.
4 February 2015
The Churchill Centre is deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved friend and colleague the Rt. Hon. Sir Martin Gilbert. Sir Martin passed away peacefully in London on Tuesday evening after a long and serious illness at the age of 78. In addition to being the official biographer of Winston Churchill, he was a leading historian of the 20th century. He produced more than eighty books on topics including World Wars I and II, Jewish studies and the Holocaust.
Sir Martin was a longtime honorary member of The Churchill Centre who spoke at numerous Centre events through the years and contributed many scholarly articles to our journal Finest Hour
. The autumn 2014 edition of Finest Hour
celebrated his career with tributes from his numerous friends including former Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Gordon Brown.
Laurence Geller CBE, Chairman of The Churchill Centre, released the following statement:
The world has lost one of its greatest historians. The Churchill Centre and all those who have been touched by the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill mourn the one man who did more than all others to keep the memory of Britain's finest son green. Sir Martin Gilbert's vast and wide-ranging contributions to history have left us an eternal legacy that vividly and brilliantly link the past to the future. We are blessed to have had this great man in our lives.
3 February 2015
"Dockers" at Attention on the Thames, 30 January 1965
Following the broadcast last week of a BBC special hosted by Jeremy Paxman commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, The Churchill Centre received this important letter from a viewer:
After watching the tribute to Winston Churchill on the BBC with Jeremy Paxman, I felt the need to write down my thoughts on the programme.
Firstly, I come from a long line of "Dockers", my two grandfathers, William Deeprose and Joe Catchesides, my father also Joe Catchesides, several uncles and cousins all worked in the Surrey Docks. My father Joe was a stevedore as was Joe senior, William (Bill) Deeprose was a deal porter (loading and unloading timber from the ships, a very very hard job in those days, he often came home with huge splinters lodged in his back). I only remember them speaking very highly of Sir Winston, even though they were lifelong labour supporters as was most of the old working class people. One of my uncles was fortunate enough to meet him, and always was very proud to relate the story.
My mother, Flo thought of Sir Winston as a hero and said that we would never have won the war if it hadn't been for him, a sentiment that thousands of people believed. I took my mother to Chartwell several times as she loved it there and always looked forward to our visits. I once took her to Blenheim so that she could see where Sir Winston was born. She found the letters he wrote to his father from his school very touching, especially the one where he confessed to dropping the watch his father had given him down the drain and the pains and expense he went to, to get it back.
23 January 2015
50th Anniversary Commemoration Begins
A major international celebration of the life and legacy of Winston Churchill has begun, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his death on Saturday, January 24 and State Funeral on January 30. The yearlong Churchill 2015 events are being organized by a global consortium of institutions including The Churchill Centre U.K. and U.S., the Churchill War Rooms, Chartwell, the Churchill Archives and Blenheim Palace. Activities will include a wide range of broadcasts, programs, lectures, exhibitions and publications along with a new website www.churchillcentral.com
, organized in themes of Commemoration, Education and Legacy.Churchill granddaughter's Celia Sandys and Emma Soames (L&R) flank great-grandson Randolph Churchill (C) at the Churchill 2015 launch.
Highlights of the year will be memorial services at Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, MO. Exhibitions include "Churchill's Scientists" at the Science Museum London, "Churchill - de Gaulle" at the Musée de l'Armée Paris and "Death of a Hero" at Churchill's family home Chartwell. Other features are the 32nd International Churchill Conference May 27-29, a Churchill Weekend in Fulton in March, a new commemorative coin from the Royal Mint and a Global Leadership Program in London this fall.
3 June 2014
Last Surviving Child of Winston Churchill Witnessed History First Hand
The Trustees, members and affiliates of The Churchill Centre around the world are deeply saddened at the news of the death of The Lady Soames LG DBE. Mary was more than just our Patron. She was our advisor, mentor, supporter and—above all—friend. Her passing marks the end of an era not only for our organization but for all those who respect the memory of her father.
Lady Soames died at her home after a brief illness surrounded by members of her family on Saturday, 31 May at the age of ninety-one. Nicholas Soames, the eldest of her five children, stated: "She was a truly remarkable and extraordinary woman, who led a very distinguished life. She was not just a wonderful mother to whom we were all devoted, but the head and heart of our family after our father died, and will be greatly missed." Lady Soames's husband Christopher, a former Cabinet minister and life peer, passed away in 1987.
Writing to Nicholas Soames on behalf of The Churchill Centre, Laurence Geller, the Chairman, stated: "Your mother will be very much missed not only by her loving family and all who knew her but by all who remember her as her father's much loved daughter. All the members of The Churchill Centre join me in extending our deepest sympathy and condolences to you and your family upon your loss."
27 September 2013
Historic Work to Join Prestigious National Collection
The Churchill Centre is honored to announce that it has been invited to donate a bust of Winston Churchill to the U.S. Capitol for permanent display in the Congressional art collection,
alongside images of great figures from American history. Very few non-Americans are represented in the Capitol building and this will be the most significant recognition accorded to Churchill by the United States government in many years.
The donation is made at the invitation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives pursuant to House Resolution 497 approved on the 70th anniversary of Churchill's historic address to a joint session of Congress shortly after America's entry into World War Two. The Resolution noted Churchill's status as an Honorary Citizen of the United States and recognized that his "persistence, determination and resolve remain an inspiration to freedom-fighters all over the world."
The work being donated by the Centre is a rare Estate casting of a historic bust of Churchill sculpted from life by renowned artist Oscar Nemon. Only two other such copies are in existence, in the Churchill War Rooms in London and in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.
An historic Congressional ceremony to unveil the bust will be held in Statuary Hall in the Capitol on Wednesday morning, October 30, 2013. In announcing the ceremony, the Speaker noted "Placing a bust of Churchill in the Capitol is a fitting recognition of his service to the cause of freedom and his friendship to the United States. Next month, we will come together to salute this great statesman and honor his legacy of persistence, determination, and resolve."
11 March 2013
David Freeman Takes Over From John David OlsenNew Chartwell Bulletin Editor
Dr. David Freeman
Long-time Churchill Centre member and Finest Hour
contributor David Freeman has taken over the reins of the Chartwell Bulletin
[CB] from John David Olsen starting with this issue. "John transformed the CB from a quarterly print publication mailed out to hundreds into a monthly online newsletter sent out to tens of thousands," Freeman explained. "My job now is to build on the base which John established in order to draw in more readers as active members of the Churchill Centre." "I will be working closely with Finest Hour
editor Richard Langworth to coordinate the two journals by which we regularly engage our members," Freeman said.