The Place to Find All Things Churchill

Jennie Churchill (neé Jerome)

Books, Arts, & Curiosities – Maternal Love

Finest Hour 183, First Quarter 2019

Page 42

Review by Zoe Colbeck

Zoe Colbeck is the General Manager for the National Trust at Chartwell.

David Lough, ed., My Darling Winston: The Letters Between Winston Churchill and His Mother, Pegasus Books, 2018, 598 pages, $35. ISBN 978–1681778822

This is the first time that the letters between Lady Randolph Churchill and her son Winston have been gathered into a book. Mother and son are said to have corresponded more than a thousand times. David Lough, whose previous book No More Champagne (2015) provided a meticulous examination of Winston Churchill’s finances, has unearthed and transcribed nearly 800 of these letters and selected 450 for inclusion in this fascinating book. The result not only tells us about the relationship between Winston and the former Jennie Jerome over the course of their shared lives and how it changed; it also illustrates the upper class life which they lived.

Lough observes that Winston’s letters have “great passages of self-analysis that make his correspondence with his mother such a valuable source of insight into his character.” It is fascinating to be able to see into Churchill’s mind this way, and I was really surprised by some of what I read. He realised that his education had been utilitarian: focused on getting him into the army. To reach his goal of becoming a politician, Lt. Churchill would have to increase his knowledge and read the books he would have learnt from had he gone to university. To this end he had his mother send him many books, as well as the records of the House of Commons, so that he could learn more about how Parliament worked.

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Mrs Everest Churchill's beloved nanny

Churchill’s younger brother, Jack, was born in 1880 when Churchill was five. They saw little of their parents and both of them were looked after by a nanny. Mrs Everest (she was, in fact, a spinster; the ‘Mrs’ was an honorary title) was hired when Winston was only a few months old.

The children led a peripatetic life, often travelling with her from their home in Ireland (the ‘Little Lodge’, where the Churchills lived when his grandfather, the 7th Duke of Marlborough, became Viceroy of Ireland), to the Isle of Wight, to Blenheim and to London.

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Jennie Churchill and Her Attempts to Be an Independent Woman

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017 Page 06 By Anne Sebba Anne Sebba is the author of Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died under Nazi Occupation (St Martin’s Press, 2016). Quotations in this article are from her biography American Jennie: The Remarkable Life of Lady Randolph Churchill (2007). A few years […]

From The Editor – The Churchill Women

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017 Page 04 By David Freeman, January 2017 Winston Churchill was surrounded by strong women all his life, from the day he was born until the day he died. This can easily be overlooked, given that his professional career took place at a time when politics was all but exclusively the […]

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