Tag: National Trust

Churchill’s Butterflies

Churchill’s Butterflies

Chartwell gard­ner Stephen Humphrey took charge of the but­ter­flies. (BBC)

David Rid­dle, a Nation­al Trust vol­un­teer at Chartwell, offers the obscure his­to­ry of the “But­ter­fly House” Churchill estab­lished to prop­a­gate but­ter­flies on the grounds of his home:

 

The But­ter­fly House was first used as a game larder between 1869-1889 by the Colquhoun fam­i­ly, who owned the Chartwell Estate between 1830 and 1921. In 1924, Churchill and Philip Tilden, his archi­tect, con­vert­ed the larder to a sum­mer house by remov­ing the east wall. In 1946 it was con­vert­ed again, this time to a But­ter­fly House.…

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Mary Soames: Patron, Mentor, Friend

Mary Soames: Patron, Mentor, Friend

Finest Hour 129, Win­ter 2005-06

From the Sum­mer 2014 issue of Finest Hour….

You may won­der why she is not on the cov­er. Our dear friend Lady Soames, who died peace­ful­ly at 91, sur­round­ed by her fam­i­ly, on May 31st at 8:35 pm, in fact deserves more than a hasti­ly con­coct­ed cov­er: she deserves a spe­cial edi­tion of Finest Hour, and that is what she shall have, issued between the sum­mer and autumn num­bers.

I say this notwith­stand­ing that I can hear her words: “Real­ly, you are going way O.T.T. [over the top] and it’s sil­ly to make a fuss.” Nev­er mind, Mary, we are going to make a fuss.…

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Churchill and Butterflies

Churchill and Butterflies

Small tor­toise­shell, one of Churchill’s favorites, has declined at Chartwell in recent years, but can still be found there.

Churchill was fas­ci­nat­ed by but­ter­flies since boy­hood and col­lect­ed many col­or­ful local vari­eties while sta­tioned in India in 1896-97. At Chartwell, he began rais­ing but­ter­flies  in 1939 and con­tin­ued after Chartwell was reopened after the war. The but­ter­fly “farm” was set up with the help of Hugh New­man, who described the events in Finest Hour 89, Win­ter 1995-96, start­ing at page 34; a .pdf is ava­iable: click here. 

Sir Winston’s daugh­ter Lady Soames was not sure when exact­ly this hob­by end­ed, but it might have been after an event described by long­time Chartwell sec­re­tary and Chartwell admin­is­tra­tor the late Grace Ham­blin, at the 1987 Dal­las Churchill Con­fer­ence, reprint­ed in Finest Hour 117:

 …he had a lit­tle hut in the gar­den, which is still there.…

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