Charting Churchill: 29 St. James’s Place, London

by Leslie Hossack

Churchill Residence at 29 St. James's Place, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Churchill Residence, 29 St. James’s Place, London 2014

© Leslie Hossack

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace in 1874. His first recorded memories are of the years in Ireland when the family lived in Little Lodge, Dublin. His father, Lord Randolph, served as secretary to his own father from 1876 to 1879. The family moved back to London in 1880, after the birth of Winston’s brother John Strange Spencer Churchill.

In April 1880, when Winston was five, Lord and Lady Randolph moved their growing family into the house above, at 29 St. James’s Place in London.

In his book My Early Life, Winston Churchill wrote about his time in this house as he faced the miserable prospect of being sent away to school for the first time. “After all, I was only seven, and I had been so happy in my nursery with all my toys. I had such wonderful toys: a real steam engine, a magic lantern, and a collection of soldiers already nearly a thousand strong.”

Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, had an enormous influence on his life. As a boy, he often visited his grandparents there. During the time that his family was living in the London house shown above, eight year old Winston wrote a letter to his mother from Blenheim. “My Dear Mamma, I hope you are quite well. I thank you very very much for the beautiful presents those Soldiers and Flags and Castle they are so nice it was so kind of you and dear Papa I send you my love and a great many kisses Your loving Winston”

Winston’s childhood interest in toy soldiers appears prophetic. During World War II, Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10th, 1940, and he is widely regarded as the inspirational leader who saved western civilization from Nazi tyranny. He also achieved fame as a soldier, writer, orator and parliamentarian.

The image featured above is part of the limited edition collector’s portfolio created by Leslie Hossack to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. She presents locations that chart Churchill’s personal and political life, from his birth at Blenheim Palace in 1874 until his death in London in 1965. THE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHS are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores Nazi architecture in Berlin, Stalinist structures in Moscow, contested sites in Jerusalem, a Cold War bunker in Ottawa, NATO’s Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, and buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.

To view more photographs, please visit Leslie’s website.  lesliehossack.com

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