Tag: Westerham

Churchill’s Daily Routine (Or: You Can’t Get Good Help Anymore…)

Churchill’s Daily Routine (Or: You Can’t Get Good Help Anymore…)

When help was cheap

Mov­ing right along, the 1911 Cen­sus was recent­ly released in Eng­land. No address was “ex-direc­to­ry” in those days. Win­ston Churchill is list­ed at 33 Eccle­ston Square, Lon­don (sev­en­teen rooms) with wife Clemen­tine, daugh­ter Diana and eight ser­vants. The help com­prised a cook, nurse, lady’s maid, house­maid, par­lor maid, under-par­lor maid, kitchen maid and hall boy). Can this be so? —A.J., NSW, Aus­tralia

Absolute­ly. By the 1920s and 1930s, when the Churchills were ensconced at Chartwell, the help had grown to fif­teen or more, count­ing gar­den­ers, handy­men, sec­re­taries and house­hold staff.…

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Grace Hamblin, Total Churchillian

Grace Hamblin, Total Churchillian

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…

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Churchill’s Common Touch (2)

Churchill’s Common Touch (2)

Con­tin­ued from Part I…

Part 2: Alice Bate­man

Two oth­er West­er­ham com­mon folk who ben­e­fit­ted from Churchill’s char­ac­ter­is­tic kind­li­ness were Tom and Alice Bate­man, farm­ers who scratched out a liv­ing near Chartwell. Per­cy Reid, a stringer for a Lon­don news­pa­per, who kept an eye on Chartwell doings after World War II, wrote charm­ing­ly of a cat­tle sale in his book, Churchill: Towns­man of West­er­ham (Folke­stone: Regency, 1969):

Capt. and Mrs. [Mary Churchill] Soames—who then lived at Chartwell Farm—were at the sale most of the time and [their chil­dren] Nicholas and Emma were also tak­ing a child’s inter­est in what was going on.…

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