Remembering Grace: 1908-2002
Beloved by all Churchills, Grace Hamblin died at her home in Westerham, Kent, aged 94. Aware she was ailing, I had just sent her some little thing in the post; Carole Kenwright at Chartwell said it arrived in time, and she was able to read from it for a few minutes.
Grace Hamblin was the longest serving and most loyally devoted of Churchill’s inner circle, arriving at Chartwell in 1932 as an assistant to then-principal private secretary Violet Pearman. She spent virtually her entire career as private secretary, first to Winston and from 1939 to Clementine. In 1966 she became the first Administrator of Chartwell, serving through 1973. In 1974 she was secretary to the Churchill Centenary Exhibition.…
Part 4: “Being Shouted At”
“I think being shouted at was one of the worst things to get over,” said Grace Hamblin, secretary to Winston and then Clementine Churchill from 1932, typical of the common Kentish folk who loved them. “I’d come from a very quiet family and I’d never been shouted at in my life. But I had to learn it, in time.”
In the midst of dictation one day, Grace told me, Churchill commanded: “Fetch me Klop!” Klop? she thought—what could it mean?
Finally, proudly, she struggled in with Onno Klopp‘s 14 giant volumes, Der Fall des Hauses Stuart. “Jesus Christ!” Churchill roared.…