Hyde Park Gate: Churchill’s London Home, 1945-1965

Hyde Park Gate: Churchill’s London Home, 1945-1965

Ques­tion: “Churchill owned both 27 and 28 Hyde Park Gate. Which one did he live in?” Answer: both.

Hyde

1945-51

The Churchills pur­chased 28 Hyde Park Gate in Sep­tem­ber 1945. The fine attached brick house stands in a qui­et cul-de-sac, close to Hyde Park and Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens. They acquired the abut­ting num­ber 27 in March 1946. Accord­ing to Ste­fan Buczacki’s excel­lent book, Churchill and Chartwell, the gar­den wall between the two res­i­dences was knocked out to pro­vide a sin­gle gar­den. Num­ber 27 was ini­tial­ly acquired for need­ed office space, though Clemen­tine Churchill thought it an extrav­a­gance. After all, it cost £7000! (In 2012, num­ber 28 was on the mar­ket for £29.5 mil­lion.)

Hyde
Din­ing Room.

Ste­fan Bucza­c­ki states that as a spe­cial favor extend­ed only to the Churchills, the trustees agreed to alter the covenants of 27 Hyde Park Gate to pro­vide for three rentable flats, above ground floor office space. In the ele­gant draw­ing room of num­ber 28, the then-Leader of the Oppo­si­tion enter­tained the Good and the Great—and some­times the not-so-great, who were not offered his best cig­ars.

1951-55

Hyde
Draw­ing Room, No. 28.

In the Octo­ber 1951 Gen­er­al Elec­tion, Churchill was returned as prime min­is­ter and moved to Ten Down­ing Street. He leased both hous­es. The Cuban ambas­sador, Robert Men­doza, was a longtme res­i­dent.  In 1954 William Mur­ray, Eighth Earl of Mans­field leased num­ber 28, fur­nished.

 

1955-65

Sir Winston’s orig­i­nal dress­ing room.

After WSC retired as prime min­is­ter in 1955, the Churchills returned to Hyde Park Gate and con­vert­ed the two res­i­dences into one, remov­ing the gar­den and struc­tur­al walls. In 1962 in Monte Car­lo, Churchill fell and broke his leg. Return­ing to Lon­don, he recu­per­at­ed at 27 Hyde Park Gate, which by then had been con­vert­ed to a ground floor bed­room. (Bucza­c­ki, pp. 225-28)

Finis

Hyde
Lady Churchill’s bed­room sit­ting room.

Lady Churchill soon found and moved to small­er quar­ters, at 7 Prince’s Gate. At an auc­tion on 28 Octo­ber 1965, nine months after Sir Winston’s death, the estate agents Knight, Frank & Rut­ley offered the free­hold to 28 and 27 Hyde Park Gate as one unit. Of num­ber 27 they not­ed: “A sim­ple rein­state­ment would pro­vide a sep­a­rate res­i­dence of great appeal….On this raised Ground Floor there is also a Bed­room site, which was occu­pied by Sir Win­ston Churchill after his acci­dent, and this comprises…[a bed­room and a bath]. The base­ment con­tained a sit­ting room.

Hyde
Walled gar­den of No. 28.

I have one of the orig­i­nal Knight, Frank & Rut­ley brochures for the prop­er­ty, and repro­duced it for the Churchill Soci­ety in 1992. It offers a fine array of pho­tos show­ing the inte­ri­or dur­ing the Churchills’ res­i­dence.

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