Galway Girl Ed Sheeran
5 September 2016, 12:27
A £7.1million appeal has been launched to buy hundreds of historic and personal objects which belonged to Sir Winston Churchill at his country home in Kent.
The National Trust is looking to acquire hundreds of heirlooms on behalf of the nation. The items have been on long term loan at Grade-I listed Chartwell, near Sevenoaks.
The property was given to the Trust in 1946 by a consortium of his friends and colleagues. It was the former prime minister's escape from the pressures of political life and is the only place where his belongings and other historic items can be seen in their original dometic 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 Chartwell, which was bought by Churchill in 1922, 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 tiny silver paint box, a pair of hairbrushes made from the deck of the Second World War ship HMS Exeter and a carved armchair given to Churchill when he gained the freedom of Brighton in 1947.
The Trust said the appeal will not only secure the many personal items that belonged to Churchill, but increase access to the collections and open up family rooms never before seen by the public.
It hopes to raise the money by January 2017.