Charting Churchill: Riding School, Blenheim Palace

by Leslie Hossack

Riding School, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Riding School, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock 2014

© Leslie Hossack

Winston Churchill’s grandmother, the Duchess of Marlborough, gave him a pony to ride during his frequent stays with her at Blenheim Palace. The photograph above shows the riding school at Blenheim as it appears today. In May 1882, seven-year-old Winston mentions the riding school and his pony, Robroy, in a letter to his mother.

“My Dear Mama  I hope you are quite well  when are you coming to Blenheim again  Jack and I both want you very much  please do come soon  I rode Robroy to day round the Park and rode him all by myself in the school.  with love and kisses  From your loving Winston.”

The letter quoted here was part of a Library of Congress exhibition entitled: Churchill and The Great Republic. The original letter is housed in the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, U.K.

Young Winston often expressed a longing to spend more time with his mother, Lady Randolph. In his book My Early Years, Churchill wrote of his mother: “She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly – but at a distance. My nurse was my confidante. Mrs. Everest it was who looked after me and tended to my wants.” Elizabeth Ann Everest was Winston’s beloved nanny whom he called Woomany. As a little boy, Winston had three significant women in his life: his nanny, his mother and his grandmother.

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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