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 Studio redisplay

The studio we see today is the much-expanded space created for Churchill between 1950-52 to display his finished work and to allow him to complete works in progress. Following Churchill's death, the Studio was refurbished in 1967, and the current style of decoration and nature of the hang dates from this time. Similarly, the presentation of the Studio, which has little changed since it opened to the public in 1968, gives both the impression of a 'working' space and as a full display and interpretation of Churchill's paintings.

With your help we hope to redisplay the Studio in a more historically sympathetic way to that of the early 1960s. Plans include grouping paintings as they would have been displayed when Churchill used the space and even to restore the oak beams that were removed.

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.