Coming soon to Chartwell

The Secretaries Room at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

In September 2016 our Keep Churchill at Chartwell appeal was launched with the aim of raising £7.1 million to secure many of Churchill's belongings for the nation. In addition to securing objects in the collection, money raised from the appeal will help us open up new rooms for 2020 and to tell some of the important stories of Chartwell in new ways.

The Secretaries Room at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

The Secretaries' Office

Once a hive of activity, the Secretaries' Office was where Churchill's dedicated staff fielded calls from key political figures and produced endless correspondence. This room was quite possibly the organisational hub of Chartwell and saw the production of many of his books and articles for which he received international acclaim. We will research and recreate the Secretaries' Office as it was in the 1950s based on our archive photographs of that time, ready for opening by 2020.

The Family Room

With your continued support we aim to commission a new video filmed. Exploring Churchill's life as a father and husband at Chartwell we hope to have the film available to view by early 2020 in a never-before-seen room we are calling the Family Room. Just off Lady Churchill's Sitting Room, the film will set you up for your visit of the house.

Blue skies over Lady Clementine's Rose Garden at Chartwell

Garden Audio Guides

Over the winter of 2019 we are working to launch new audio guides for the garden. With no signs or stands to spoil the views, these garden audio guides that you can hold to your ear will explore some of the features of the garden at Chartwell. With different stories too choose from you can explore the gardens at your leisure learning about how Churchill created the garden you see today, find out more about some of the seasonal highlights growing in the borders or find out how the space was used by Churchill and the family.

Signatures in Churchill's visitors book at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

An interactive Visitors Book

Thanks to your help we are in the process of digitising Churchill's Visitors Book. The majority of signatures that fill these pages are from those that stayed at Chartwell while visiting the family. Coming in late 2019 we will be launching an interactive version that explores the lives of the people that signed the book. From friends to family, politicians to personalities you can explore these people by date, occupation or just browse the pages with the flick of your finger on the touch screen.

Churchill's painting studio at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

The Studio annex redisplay

Late 2019 we are looking to redisplay an area of Churchill's studio and introduce interactive elements. With the funds of the appeal we hope to explore Churchill's passion for painting in more detail with a large interactive touch wall that will take you on a journey across the world discovering the locations that Churchill painted and delve deeper in to the style he developed and the painting techniques he used.

Why do we need to fundraise to open these new spaces?

The ‘new’ rooms are all different and require different levels of conservation and redecoration. Part of the fundraising money will help us to conserve, prepare and dress these rooms for public viewing and develop appropriate interpretation for each space.

We want to use new technologies, audio, news footage, and oral recordings of staff as well as Churchill himself to bring new life to the stories and interpretation.

The openings will take time as our team will be working alongside specialists, researching and gathering stories of how these rooms where used by the Churchill family. There is also work to be done on the conservation and decoration of the rooms.

Why have these rooms not been opened to visitors before?

The rooms currently open to the public were chosen in the 1960s by the Churchill family and the National Trust. They reflected the interest of the time, with the focus being on those family rooms used by Sir Winston and Lady Churchill.

Churchill’s bedroom and bathroom were closed off on the wishes of the Churchill family due to the personal nature of the spaces. However, towards the end of her life Lady Soames, Churchill’s youngest daughter who passed away in 2014, felt that times had changed and these spaces could now be enjoyed by visitors.

Today, we and the Churchill family believe that it is important to give a fuller picture of how the Churchills’ children and grandchildren lived at and enjoyed Chartwell. We want to show and explain how Churchill was supported by a team of dedicated staff in his work and home-life. These spaces will enable us to do this.