Charting Churchill: The Lake at Chartwell

The Lake at Chartwell, Westerham 2014 by Leslie Hossack

The Lake at Chartwell, Westerham, Kent 2014

© Leslie Hossack

By the beginning of the 1920s, Winston Churchill was firmly established in his career. He was a long-time member of the House of Commons and had held three cabinet posts: Secretary of State for War, January 9th 1919 to February 14th 1921; Secretary of State for Air, January 9th 1919 to April 1st 1921; and Secretary of State for the Colonies, February 14th 1921 to October 19th 1922.

However, 1921 was a very difficult year for the family. In January, Clementine’s grandmother, Blanche, the Countess of Airlie, died; in April, her brother, Bill Hozier, committed suicide; and in June, Winston’s mother, Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill, died. Then, most tragically, Marigold, the Churchills’ two-year-old daughter, died in August of 1921.

A year later, in September 1922, Clementine gave birth to Mary, the Churchills’ last child, and Winston purchased Chartwell, a country home located 25 miles from London. This would remain his beloved retreat for over 40 years, until his death in 1965. At Chartwell, Winston indulged a variety of interests, including exotic butterflies, ornamental fish and black swans. He was actively involved in planning the many water features on the property, such as the lake, shown above. He loved roses and enjoyed the different varieties planted at Chartwell, and he personally built most of the brick walls surrounding the gardens. Bricklaying became another of Winston’s passions.

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.

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