Chartwell - Winston Churchill’s beloved home in Kent.

chartwell kent

They say that home isn’t where you were born but where your heart is. Well, the heart of Sir Winston Churchill definitely belonged to Chartwell, an extravagant estate located in 30 miles from Central London and 8 miles from Sevenoaks.

Churchill fell in love with Chartwell at first sight, to be more precise with a heavenly panorama unfolding from the height of the site. The building itself was in rather poor condition; looking murky and dilapidated it represented an unattractive sight. Churchill’s wife Clementine was also enchanted by the spot, but not as much as her husband. Due to the lack of the rose-coloured spectacles Clementine had a more practical look at the property than her spouse and pinpointed a certain number of drawbacks, the removal of that would claim a great deal of investments, time and mental strength. But Winston Churchill was adamant, and in 1922, without letting it known to his wife but enlisted support of their children, he purchased Chartwell with 80 acres of land to boot thus fulfilled his dream.

winston and clementine churchill

Clementine was far-sighed in her fears. It took two nerve-wracking years for the restoration of the family nest, as well as the amount of money, which at least three times exceeded the price for that Chartwell was bought. Apparently Clementine managed to warm to the estate and did her bit in bringing the new life to it but it always remained for her a sort of “troubled child”, that what could not be said about Winston Churchill who often used to repeat:” A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted”.

For 40 years Chartwell remained for Churchill his castle, his personal paradise and harbour in the moments of hardship. That’s where he wasn’t only working on his books, speeches and articles but also painting, collecting butterflies, trying himself as a farmer and bricklayer, taking part in the digging of the ponds, at the same time not forgetting about his roles of a welcoming host, good family man and even kind neighbour.

Mr and Mrs Donkey Jack were gipsies living on the edge of the Churchill’s land. They were struggling in making both ends meet, the occasional attacks from the local authorities, demanding to clear them off the common land, weren’t making their life easier either. When the old gipsy died and Mrs Donkey was about to be exiled, it was Winston and Clementine Churchill that helped the poor woman to sort out the funeral of her husband and generously allowed her to live on their land until her very death, helping her materially as well.

marmalade cat

In the post-war 1946 the Churchill’s financial situation was far from prosperous so they even considered the idea of selling Chartwell. It’s hard to believe though that Winston Churchill could really bring himself to fulfil that idea. But anyway it didn’t go so far because the friends of the ex-prime minister bought out Chartwell for him and bequeathed it to the National Trust for being sure that the house of greatest politician of the époque wouldn’t fall to neglect.

The National Trust was bequeathed not only the residence of Sir Winston Churchill but his cat Jock too. An infamous politician was somewhat partial to animals in general and to ginger cats particularly. There is the point in his will saying that Chartwell always has to be inhabited by a marmalade cat. Jock had been presented to Churchill on his 88th birthday. Two years later, when his owner passed away, the fluffy mischief-maker began the dynasty of ginger Jocks in Chartwell.

chartwell kent

In 1966, a year after the demise of Winston Churchill, Chartwell opened wide its doors as museum for the public. The main factor attracting the visitors is indisputably the interest to Churchill’s vigorous and talented personality. But although Chartwell houses an impressive array of things telling about the private life of ex-prime minister, this place might appeal not only to the fans of Churchill but to everyone interested in art, history and entrancing landscapes. There’s also a well-provided collection of watercolours and items of interior surrounded by the pleasing garden with plenty of hidden nooks to be discovered.

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article in its entirety as long as active link back to this web-address is included.


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails