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Churchill Film Celebration at the War Rooms

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Young Ladies About Town
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on Monday, 19 June 2017
by Annette Kellow

It has been 28,161 days since Churchill was in power but his strong beliefs and iconic quotes are still in full force, putting the Great in Great Britain. This week Churchill the film will be released by Lionsgate and in celebration I was invited to a pre-release talk at the War Rooms in Parliament.

My first thought was, how vintage! I love 1940s history and have always been in marvel at Chruchills defiant attitude throughout the war.

On arrrival I was ushered downstairs into the map room, the most secret of all the rooms in the building. Inside were secret decoding telephones, maps with pins to mark incoming boats and some sugar cubes which he kept in a hanky at the back of his drawer.

Surely they couldn’t be real and have lasted all this time? I was assured they were and that Churchill always used all of his sugar rations but forgot these two!

As we went through to his bedroom, we were informed that maps were his favourite. So obsessed was he that he even had one erected opposite his bed to study at a moments notice should he need to. One of the other writers on tour with us was also very keen on maps and was looking in detail. As there was a table in front he decided to kneel down to check out Australia, then he accidenly kicked Churchills bedpan- I was in fits of giggles imagining what Churchill would have said at that!

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Churchill was not only a very clever man but incredibly private and knew how to keep a secret. As we walked along another corridor we were shown a door with an ‘engaged’ sign on it. Assuming it was a lavatory we were corrected that Churchill would pretend it was but secretly take calls in there to the White House. The etiquette of someone standing outside a toilet would have been frowned upon so he would be left well alone to discuss important affairs- although people may have wondered why he was spending so much time in there!

As we entered another part of the war rooms there was a large quote on one wall-

‘We are all worms but I believe I am a glow worm.’

Although Churchill suffered from dark depression he also loved humour and after watching a pre-screening of Brian Cox taking on the role of the great leader, I realised he was also rather glamourous too.

He loved Savile Row suits, chauffeur driven limousines, gold Breguet pocket watches, Pol Roger champagne and he always smoked 8 fine cigars a day.

The only guilty pleasure he indulged in was Red label Johnny Walker, apparently a cheap and accessible drink one, whilst he loved nothing better than to get up on the roof of Parliament and watch air raids with a little tipple.

We finished off the day at the HMS Belfast, the grande ship currently docked at London Bridge which Churchill had wanted to accompany the invasion forces on D-Day, but was dissuaded by the King under the terms it was not safe. The ship now sits on the Thames with a beautiful panoramic view of the city. I enjoyed touring the captains room and control centre whilst the sheer size of the 11’000 ton ship is to marvel at. Even now after 50 years of his death, I got the feeling Churchill was a determined, strong caring individual that cared deeply about his country and as he famously loved to say, ‘Attitude is a little thing that always makes a very big difference.’

Churchill by Lionsgate is currently showing at cinemas now.
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