January 1, 1970

Introduced by Richard M. Langworth

‘This is Winston Churchill speaking. I should like some butterflies to liberate in my garden. May I come and see your butterfly farm and discuss a plan?’ L.W. Newman, the ‘farmer,’ was astonished. It was 1939. War was coming. Yet Churchill was thinking Lepidoptera.

Churchill had been entranced by butterflies since boyhood, especially the exotic tropical species he found in India and South Africa. Newman and his son Hugh supplied chrysalises which he watched develop, careful not to disturb a single insect. War intervened, but in 1946 Churchill was showing Hugh a small summerhouse: ‘Take the roof off it, if you like, and put a glass one in its place … Let me have your plan soon. And let it be a plan of action’. Ever since, Chartwell has featured butterflies —peacocks, tortoise shells, red admirals, painted ladies, swallowtails — and the plants that attract them. ‘I am certain,’ Newman writes, that ‘there was a great resurgence of the butterfly population in that part of Kent — thanks to Mr. Churchill’.

Read the full article here: ‘Butterflies to Chartwell’, by Hugh Newman in Finest Hour 89, Winter 1995-96, scroll to page 3.

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