Appeal set up for Winston Churchill heirlooms

Just over half of the collection at Churchills much-loved family home is currently owned by the Trust. Picture: Getty
Just over half of the collection at Churchills much-loved family home is currently owned by the Trust. Picture: Getty
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A £7.1 million appeal has been launched to buy hundreds of historic and personal objects which belonged to Sir Winston Churchill at his country home.

The National Trust is looking to acquire for the nation hundreds of heirlooms that have been on long term loan at Grade-I listed Chartwell, near Sevenoaks, Kent.

Just over half of the collection at Churchill’s much-loved family home is currently owned by the Trust, which was given the property in 1946 by a consortium of his friends and colleagues.

With views across the Weald of Kent, Chartwell was an escape for the ex-wartime prime minister from the pressures of political life. And it is the only place where his objects can be seen in their original domestic setting.

Now, on the 50th anniversary of Chartwell opening to the public, his great-grandson Randolph Churchill has offered the Trust the chance to buy some of the most significant items held there on loan.

These include Churchill’s library of inscribed books, medallions, gifts and awards, including his Nobel Prize for literature, along with personal mementoes such as a wooden box where he stored his rousing speeches.

The Churchill’s Chartwell appeal also aims to permanently secure a House of Commons green leather book signed by almost every member of the Commons and presented to Churchill on his 80th birthday in 1954.

Katherine Barnett, house and collections manager at Chartwel said: “It is crucial that we do all we can to ensure these heirlooms stay here where he hoped they would remain.

“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.”

Other items include a carved armchair given to Churchill when he gained the freedom of Brighton in 1947.

Dame Helen Ghosh, director-general of the National Trust, said: “We have a focus for one of the biggest appeals we have ever made to safeguard a collection of this kind and ensure that we can continue to tell Churchill’s story for the next 50 years and beyond.”