January 1, 1970

In the later years of his life, when it became known he liked animals, he was given them as presents: among the more exotic gifts were kangaroos, a platypus (which arrived dead and had to be stuffed), a lion named ‘Rota’ and a leopard called ‘Sheba’ (the latter two both went to London Zoo). Churchill did think seriously about keeping the kangaroos in the orchard but in the end they went to the Zoo, too.

The most famous Chartwell birds are the black swans. The first swans were given to Sir Winston by Sir Philip Sassoon in 1927 but had to be regularly replaced as they were attacked by foxes and mink. One pair was a gift from the government of Western Australia, whose state symbol is a black swan.

Sir Winston also had an impressive collection of fish, including golden orfe, and spent many hours gazing into their pools in quiet contemplation.

A tribute, join us




Get the Churchill Bulletin delivered to your inbox once a month.