“Harold Begbie” is excerpted from an article for the Hillsdale College Churchill Project. To view the original, click here. To SUBSCRIBE for fresh articles weekly from the Churchill Project, reaching 60,000 readers worldwide: Click here, scroll to bottom, enter your email address in the box entitled “Stay in touch with us.” Your email address is never given out and will remain a mystery wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
“Boris Johnson, who has sought comparison with Winston Churchill, denounced spending national lottery money to save the wartime leader’s personal papers for the nation,” chortled The Guardian in December. (The Churchill Papers cover 1874-1945. Lady Churchill donated the post-1945 Chartwell Papers to the Churchill Archives in 1965.)
In April 1995 Johnson, then a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, deplored the £12.5 million purchase of Churchill Papers for the nation. The lottery-supported National Heritage Memorial Fund, said Johnson, was frittering away money on pointless projects and benefiting Tory grandees. Johnson added: “…seldom in the field of human avarice was so much spent by so many on so little …”
The Memorial Fund replied the Churchill Papers were a national heirloom under threat of being sold outside the country.…