Churchill was a keen collector of butterflies in India, but in later life he couldn't bear to kill them or even keep them captive in his chrysalis house at Chartwell. Strolling by the cage on one of his walks, he left the screening open. Secretary Grace Hamblin asked, did he do that on purpose. Churchill replied, "I can't bear this captivity any longer."
Butterflies are back in force at Sir Winston Churchill’s Chartwell. In 2009, the National Trust rebuilt the butterfly hut and gardener Stephen Humphrey took charge of raising butterflies. Nigel Guest, a Chartwell volunteer, immediately reported “a terrific year for butterflies.” For his report and color photos of Churchill’s favorite species see BBC Radio Kent, “Churchill’s Butterfly House at Chartwell.”
David Riddle, a National Trust volunteer at Chartwell, gave me the background of the “Butterfly House” Churchill established to propagate the insects on the grounds of his home:
The Butterfly House was first used as a game larder between 1869 and 1889 by the Colquhoun family, who owned Chartwell between 1830 and 1922, when Churchill bought the estate.…