Published: 00:36, 07 March 2019
After three years of fundraising, the National Trust has acquired Sir Winston Churchill's Nobel Prize, to be displayed at his family home in Kent forever.
The prize was awarded to the former Prime Minister for Literature in 1953, and is on display at the National Trust property at Westerham near Sevenoaks.
He was awarded it in recognition not just of his writing, but of his commanding speeches which reverberated around the globe.
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It is rare for the Nobel Prize for Literature to be awarded to a statesman in chief, but Sir Winston’s body of work, including accounts of the First and Second World Wars, memoirs and his rousing speeches, were deemed to have such historical and literary importance that the Academy made an exception.
In 1953 he was awarded the prize, ‘for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.’ Then Prime Minister, Churchill was
deeply honoured to have been recognised for his literary work.
Churchill’s wife and daughter, Lady Churchill and Mary Soames, travelled to Stockholm to receive the prize on his behalf in December 1953.
To celebrate securing the cherished document, it is being displayed at Chartwell in the Museum Room in a prominent position.
Curator at Chartwell, Katherine Carter, said: “The Nobel Prize being displayed just a few feet from the room in which so much of his writing took place really does bring the object to life.
"Countless speeches, histories and articles were composed at Chartwell, all of which contribute to his legacy as an exceptional writer and orator. Churchill himself once said "words are the only things that last forever" and it’s wonderful to know that the ultimate acknowledgement of his words, his Nobel Prize in Literature, will remain a key part of our display and the stories that we share with visitors to Chartwell for years to come.”
General manager Zoë Colbeck added: "It is one of my favourite objects in the house and in its new display it will delight all visitors. Churchill was only the fourth Englishman to be awarded the Nobel Prize and just the second historian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel Prize belongs at Chartwell - the home and workplace for Churchill; the place that gave him strength and the ability to create; the place where he produced so much of his literary output.’
The fundraising project, which has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund among other organisations, and the public and trust members, now has £800,000 to help digitise the Chartwell visitor book, introduce new audio tours to the garden, re-interpret the studio, home to Churchill's paintings, and see the opening of two more rooms in the house.
It has already funded a new permanent exhibition about Churchill.
To donate to the final phase of the project, text WINSTON to 70123 or donate at nationaltrust.org.uk/Chartwell-appeal.
Chartwell is open daily. To find out more go to nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell or call 01732 868381.
More by this authorAngela Cole