Kent

National Trust launches £7.1m appeal to buy Churchill's personal objects

Items Image copyright PA
Image caption The objects include books, gifts, awards and a wooden box where he stored his speeches

The National Trust has launched a £7.1m appeal to buy hundreds of objects that belonged to Sir Winston Churchill.

The heirlooms have been on long-term loan at Churchill's country home, Grade-I listed Chartwell, near Sevenoaks in Kent.

Just over half of the collection there is currently owned by the trust, which was given the property in 1946.

Now, his great-grandson Randolph Churchill has offered the National Trust the chance to buy more items.

With views across the Weald of Kent, Chartwell was an escape for Churchill from the pressures of political life.

It is the only place where the wartime prime minister's belongings can be seen in their original domestic setting.

The trust said the appeal, launched on the 50th anniversary of Chartwell opening to the public, was one of the "biggest we have ever made to safeguard a collection of this kind".

The objects include Churchill's library of inscribed books, medallions, gifts and awards, including his Nobel Prize for literature, and personal mementoes such as a wooden box in which he stored scripts for his rousing speeches.

The Churchill's Chartwell appeal also aims to permanently secure a House of Commons green leather book signed by almost every member of the Commons and presented to Churchill on his 80th birthday in 1954.

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Chartwell was bought by Churchill in 1922

Katherine Barnett, house and collections manager at Chartwell, said: "It is crucial that we do all we can to ensure these heirlooms stay here where he hoped they would remain."

Other items include a tiny silver paint box, a pair of hairbrushes made from the deck of the World War Two ship HMS Exeter and a carved armchair given to Churchill when he gained the freedom of Brighton in 1947.

Dame Helen Ghosh, director-general of the National Trust, said it was one of the "biggest appeals we have ever made to safeguard a collection of this kind and ensure that we can continue to tell Churchill's story for the next 50 years and beyond".

It hopes to raise the money by January.

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