'Letters between Loved Ones’ trail at Chartwell 2021
Acknowledging this last year and the separation individuals have had from their family, loved ones and home, Chartwell and Biggin Hill Memorial Museum share letters from the archives that capture similar feelings of love and longing while the writers were parted.
Saturday 24 April – Sunday 18 July 2021
10am – 4.30pm (9am opening on weekends only)
Suggested £1 donation per trail leaflet
Join us at Chartwell for a brand new trail to explore out in the grounds of Sir Winston Churchill’s family home.
Following the success of last year’s, ‘Art at Chartwell Trail’, this year we’re bringing you selected letters, written by Winston and Clementine to one another whilst work and duty separated them.
Both were often away with work, such as Winston heading over to America to meet President Roosevelt, and Clementine going to Russia as Chairman of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund. Both were also avid travellers, exploring the world on various trips including Komodo Island in Indonesia, and the Greek Isles.
In total there is a combination of fourteen letters and telegrams to read at your leisure on a walk around the gardens, each exploring some of the different events that the two of them went through over their many happy years of marriage.
Discover the love and hope for the future they shared with each other whilst history unfurled around them, from first moving to Chartwell, to the years of war, through to Winston retiring from politics and reflecting on his remaining years with his wife and family.
The letters being displayed at Chartwell show heartfelt moments between Winston and Clementine between 1921 and 1963.
The first letter you will come across is a particularly special one for us here at Chartwell as it shows Clementine’s first reactions to viewing their future home, written exactly 100 years ago in 1921. She writes, ‘I can think of nothing but that heavenly Tree-Crowned Hill – It is like a view from an aeroplane being up there’ – and her thoughts on the views and scenery still ring as true today as they did a century ago.
Biggin Hill Memorial Museum explores letters from the Second World War, written between the servicemen and women of RAF Biggin Hill, and their own families and loved ones. RAF Biggin Hill airport played a large role during the Battle of Britain, strategically located between London and continental Europe and described by Churchill as our ‘strongest link’.
One of the letters you can read over at the Museum is between a mother and her son, Harry Simpson, who had joined the RAF at the tender age of 18. He signs his letter back to her with no less than four rows of x’s, showing the high emotions at being away from home, and in such world changing times.
Photographed from the original letters, you will get the chance to read the words of separation, hope and love out on boards dotted around the Chartwell gardens and at Biggin Hill Memorial Museum, each with extra information to help provide more detail. Read them all right out in the landscapes that all these people once lived and worked in, where the letters were sent to and from.
Winston Churchill was famous for the words he wrote and spoke. Now you’ll not only get the chance to see some of his most personal – those to his wife – but also the writing skills of Clementine Churchill herself too.
After a year where many of us have been separated from family, loved ones and home, join us at Chartwell in 2021 to read their messages of hope for the future and love for one another.
With special thanks to Churchill Archive Centre, Curtis Brown and TopFoto for their help and support with this year’s trail. The letters of Sir Winston Churchill have been reproduced by kind permission of Curtis Brown, London on behalf of the Estate of Winston S. Churchill, © Winston S. Churchill