Churchill’s historic legacy is almost certainly his contribution to the survival of democracy in Western Europe during WWII. He is commemorated in many statues, sculptures, street names and buildings. Different aspects of his life can be investigated at many of the sites associated with him – Blenheim, Chartwell, the Churchill War Rooms, the National Churchill Museum at Fulton – and his archives can be researched at the Churchill Archives Centre and via the Churchill Archive Online. But there are also a number of living legacies that seek to educate and inspire future generations, such as the International Churchill Centres, Churchill College, Cambridge, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States and the English-Speaking Union. This section will tell you more about Churchill’s influence today – and his potential impact on tomorrow’s generation.
I want to shine a light on some aspects of Churchill’s character and to explain how Churchill made a difference to events or to society – and to explore his meaning and his message today.
Boris Johnson, quoted in the Daily Telegraph, 30 August 2014
When Churchill was eighty-eight he was asked by the Duke of Edinburgh how he’d like to be remembered. He reportedly replied that he’d like a scholarship named after him, like the Rhodes Scholarship but for the wider masses.
To get young Americans studying at the new Churchill College, Cambridge, a Foundation was created as a vehicle for the Churchill Scholarship in July 1959 (in fact, the Foundation predates the Royal Charter for Churchill College and has been a steady companion of the College from its creation). Now called the Winston Churchill Foundation of the US, it’s a reminder of Anglo–US cooperation and friendship. It ‘honours Churchill’s name not by looking back at his past but by looking to the future of science and technology as drivers of global security and economic development’ (Winston Churchill Foundation of the US).
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Churchill died in 1965 and yet his name – and his legacy – lives on, in the educational organisations that he established in his lifetime and in the initiatives set up after his death, to promote excellence, innovation and leadership in education and research in science, technology, health and welfare and the arts. Churchill cared passionately about the future of his country and believed strongly in the importance of education and research in securing success and leadership in the years ahead.
The privilege of a university education is a great one; the more widely it is extended the better for any country.
Churchill, 12 May 1948, University of Oslo
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