Summer 1923 (Age 48)

Renovations at Chartwell

In May Stanley Baldwin replaced the dying Andrew Bonar Law as Prime Minister. While his family holidayed at Cromer on the North Sea, Churchill spent the summer at Sussex Square working on the second volume of The World Crisis, with periodic excursions to supervise the renovation of Chartwell. While there he lived at a rented house, Hosey Rigge (which he immediately nicknamed “Cozy Pig”), on the Westerham Road. After her return, Clementine suffered a throat infection so she stayed at Hosey Rigge while Churchill rested in the Mediterranean aboard the yacht of his wealthy friend the Duke of Westminister.

Clementine later told Martin Gilbert that she did not want to go to Chartwell “but Winston had his heart set on it.” She did not wish to leave London and she doubted the family could afford the costs of renovation and maintenance. But Churchill wrote her from the Duke’s yacht:

“My beloved, I do beg you not to worry about money, or to feel insecure, Chartwell is to be our home. We must endeavour to live there for many years and hand it over to Randolph afterwards.” He outlined how he intended to make the necessary money by serving as a consultant with oil companies and writing, primarily the latter. Furthermore, he was confident that “if we go into office we will live in Downing Street!” (Both the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer reside there. He would eventually hold both offices.)

On 14 August he went to see the Prime Minister. To Clementine he wrote; “I entered Downing Street by the Treasury entrance to avoid comment. This much amused Baldwin. However Max [Lord Beaverbrook] rang up this morning to say he hoped I had had a pleasant interview and that I had greatly heartened the PM about the Ruhr! He is a little ferret.”

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