Charting Churchill: Big Ben and House of Commons, London

by Leslie Hossack

Big Ben, Elizabeth Tower, House of Commons, Houses of Parliament, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Big Ben and House of Commons, Houses of Parliament, London 2014

© Leslie Hossack

In October 1900, Winston Churchill was first elected to the House of Commons as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Oldham. This was the second of twenty-one elections that he contested. He lost in 1899, 1908, 1922, 1923 and 1924 but won the other sixteen elections. Thus Winston was a Member of Parliament for just over 62 years, spanning the time period 1900 – 1964. For further details, please visit The Churchill Centre.

Churchill had been preparing for this role for some time. In his book Churchill Style (2012), Barry Singer describes the self-tutoring program that Winston had embarked upon in India in 1896, when he asked his mother to send him a Parliamentary history of the last 100 years. “Once a set was supplied, the young scholar devised his own unique method for reading the twenty-seven volumes of the Annual Register of parliamentary debates. He did not read a debate until he had written down on paper his own opinion about its subject. After reading the debate, he reexamined his initial written view and then rewrote it.”

Winston’s father would have taken part in several debates recorded in the Annual Register. Lord Randolph Churchill was first elected to Parliament in 1874, the year he turned 25. Winston, who was born that same year, always looked up to his father. In 1900, it appeared Winston was following closely in his father’s footsteps when he was first elected to the House of Commons at the age of 25.

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.