Month: June 2012

Churchill’s Brandy? Not Really….

Churchill’s Brandy? Not Really….

Brandy Ban­ter: The Evening Stan­dard described ArArAt Armen­ian brandy, once reserved for Com­mu­nist par­ty elite. It was “the brandy that Stal­in served Churchill” accord­ing to con­sumer busi­ness edi­tor Jonathan Prynn:

The prime min­is­ter enjoyed ArArAt brandy when it was served by Stal­in at the Yal­ta con­fer­ence in Feb­ru­ary 1945. After the Sec­ond World War, the Sovi­et leader arranged for Churchill to be sent 400 bot­tles every year.

This seems high­ly doubt­ful. There is no record in the Churchill Archives Cen­tre of even a bot­tle of brandy being sent to Churchill—although he did com­pli­ment Stal­in on an Armen­ian brandy served at Yal­ta.…

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60 Years On: “A Sparkling Presence at its Summit”

60 Years On: “A Sparkling Presence at its Summit”

“We may think of Churchill as an ami­able or even rev­er­ent agnos­tic, who con­ceived of him­self not as a pil­lar of the church but per­haps as a fly­ing but­tress. He did not invoke the Deity casu­al­ly or cyn­i­cal­ly, a fact which con­fers its own inter­est upon his touch­ing and heart­felt reply to the Queen’s let­ter fol­low­ing his retire­ment as prime min­is­ter in April 1955.

“The monar­chy sig­ni­fied for Churchill some­thing of infi­nite val­ue, at once numi­nous and lumi­nous; and if you will allow the remark in paren­the­sis, ladies and gen­tle­men, do you not some­times long for some­one at the sum­mit of our pub­lic life who can think and write at that lev­el?” —Pro­fes­sor David Dilks

Our Island no longer holds the same author­i­ty or pow­er that it did in the days of Queen Vic­to­ria.…

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January 24th, 1907

January 24th, 1907

A read­er asks what Win­ston Churchill was doing on 24 Jan­u­ary 1907.

Churchill was at the Colo­nial Office, Lon­don, deal­ing with an upcom­ing Colo­nial con­fer­ence, and a diplo­mat­ic ker­fuf­fle. The Gov­er­nor of Jamaica, Sir James Alexan­der Swet­ten­ham, had churl­ish­ly demand­ed that the crew of an Amer­i­can war­ship, land­ed in Kingston to lend human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance after a seri­ous earth­quake, retire to their ship, sug­gest­ing that the Amer­i­cans’ action was like a vis­it­ing “British admi­ral land­ing an armed par­ty to sup­port the New York police.”

On Jan­u­ary 24th Churchill advised King Edward VII that, act­ing on a telegram from Lord Elgin, the Colo­nial Sec­re­tary (who was in Scot­land), Swet­ten­ham had been rebuked and ordered to apol­o­gize to the Amer­i­cans.…

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