June 15, 2018

Finest Hour 179, Winter 2018

Page 04

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Finest Hour 179

WESTERHAM, KENT—I have been very pleased with the feedback I have received about my article describing the animals of Chartwell in the last issue of Finest Hour. When the editor informed me that the theme of this issue would be “Churchill at the Movies” and that there would be an article about the Chartwell cinema, I felt that I should write to explain a reference made in this story about the presence of a fish tank in the basement.

The tank was set up after a young admirer sent some tropical fish as a gift with a note to say that he thought Sir Winston might enjoy admiring them and watching them grow. Members of the household added to the collection, and Sir Winston fell into the habit of returning from his walks about the grounds via the basement to see how his fish were getting along.

So fascinated did Sir Winston become with his aquatic friends that before long he ordered not one but four more tanks. These were duly set up in his study, which previously had been decorated only with inanimate objects like books, paintings, and family photographs. The fish tanks were richly decorated with stones and plants and then stocked with every variety of tropical fish that Sir Winston could obtain.

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Thereafter, the Master of Chartwell enjoyed entering his study and sitting transfixed before his colourful collection as the fish swam about. He loved watching their antics and exclaiming about their beauty and love of life. Naturally he named as many as he could and called them all by name as he recognized each fish.

As with his other pets, Sir Winston could never resist the temptation to feed his fish—and feed them rather more than he should from the small bottles near the tanks. —Jock of Chartwell

Coming in Finest Hour 180: 50th Anniversary Issue and Churchil’s Adventures

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