Godalming: Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

Great Britain’s Prime Minister during the Second World War and one of the world’s greatest statesmen of the twentieth century. Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965).

A professional soldier as a young man, Churchill entered politics having discovered he could make his living by writing.  In 1908 he married Clementine Hozier.

On the outbreak of the First World War he was First Lord of the Admiralty.  In 1916 Allied Forces attempted to capture Dardanelles in North West Turkey.  The campaign was a disaster and Churchill was forced to resign.

Winston thought his career was finished and became deeply depressed.  Clementine worried that he would die. For the Summer months of 1915 Winston and his brother Jack leased Hoe Farm, in Hascombe near Godalming, as weekend retreat for their families.  It was owned by Joseph Godman for whom the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens has extended the medieval in farmhouse in 1890.

One Sunday at Hoe Farm, Winston noticed his sister in law Gwendeline painting in water colours.  She encouraged him to try his hand but dissatisfied with the medium he decided on oils.  Four pictures of Hoe Farm by Winston remain.

Churchill found oil painting to be the most complete physical and mental relaxation and he took his paints and canvases everywhere. By the end of his life he had painted more than five hundred pictures – landscapes, interiors, still lifes and portraits.

Reproduction of two Churchill’s paintings of Hoe farm and an exhibit devoted to his life time’s interest in painting is to be found on the first floor of the Godalming Museum.

Winston and his wife Clementine were frequent visitors to Knebworth , the family home of Sir Edwin Lutyen’s wife Emily Lytton where the architect did much work on the garden and in the house including the Great Hill which was the subject of one of Chuchill’s paintings.

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