Charting Churchill: Speech Room at Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill
by Leslie Hossack
Speech Room, Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill 2014
© Leslie Hossack
Winston Churchill left Harrow School in December 1892. While there, he displayed evidence of the attributes and interests that would shape him as an adult. He loved reading history and particularly enjoyed lessons about battles; he studied the English language extensively and developed an enduring passion for words; he sought opportunities to learn about the army and the military.
The Speech Room shown above was completed in 1877. Here Winston would have attended school assemblies, plays, concerts, debates and lectures. He particularly enjoyed presentations by special guests. He was very excited about a lecture by Colonel Gouraud who demonstrated a new invention called the phonograph. Churchill remained intellectually curious about both military and communication technology throughout his life.
The photograph featured here shows the Speech Room in the process of being set up as an Elizabethan theatre. A Shakespearean play has been produced at Harrow almost every year since 1941. Winston developed an abiding interest in Shakespeare as a schoolboy and he frequently quoted from his work later in life.
Another annual event in the Speech Room is a concert called the Churchill Songs. The first one occurred in 1940 when Prime Minister Winston Churchill returned to hear the Harrow Songs that he loved. With the exception of four occasions, Churchill attended this event every year for the rest of his life. Harrow School was indeed his Alma Mater.
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