October 29, 2022

The Art of Being Winston Churchill: Retirement


Almost immediately upon arriving at Chartwell after vacating Downing Street in April 1955, Winston Churchill picked up the manuscript of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples—the first draft of which he had just barely completed on the September night in 1939 when Britain had gone to war. He reconvened his research team (specifically Dennis Kelly and the historian Aland Hodge) and resumed work.

A lovely word picture of Churchill was set down by the historian A. L. Rowse after lunching at Chartwell in July 1955: “There, at last, was the so familiar face, much aged; that of an old man who had gone back to baby looks. The eyes a cloudy blue, a little bloodshot, spectacles on snub nose, a large cigar rolled round in his mouth…striped blue zip-suit, blue velvet slippers with WSC worked in gold braid, outwards, in case anybody didn’t know who was approaching….He had been at work.” “I like work,” Churchill told Rowse.

Barry Singer is proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City and author of Churchill Style (2012).

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