Charting Churchill: Admiralty Citadel, Horse Guards Parade, London

by Leslie Hossack

Admiralty Citadel, Horse Guards Parade, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Admiralty Citadel, Horse Guards Parade, London 2014

© Leslie Hossack

In 1938, Winston Churchill continued to warn his country and colleagues about the rearmament of Germany; Hitler became even more aggressive on the continent; and Chamberlain replaced Baldwin as Prime Minister in Great Britain. Still, few Members of Parliament heeded Churchill’s warnings. In March 1939, German troops marched into Prague, and Britain pledged to guarantee Poland’s independence. On September 1st 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, and two days later Britain declared war on Germany. That same day, September 3rd 1939, for the second time in his career, Churchill was named First Lord of the Admiralty. His wilderness years were over. A signal was sent out to the British Fleet: “Winston is back.” Churchill held this cabinet post until May 1940.

The photograph above shows the Admiralty Citadel on the edge of Horse Guards Parade. Other Admiralty Buildings can be seen behind it on the right. Preparations for the Citadel started in 1939 when the Royal Naval Division memorial was moved to make way for its construction. Among other actions, the memorial recognized the landing of the Naval Division at Gallipoli. Winston Churchill had unveiled the memorial in 1925. Ironically, in 1939, he could watch its removal from the back windows of Admiralty House, where he lived from September 1939 until July 1940.

The concrete Citadel was designed to provide a safe work environment for Admiralty staff during the bombing of London, and could be retreated to in the event of an actual invasion. It is still used today as a secure government facility. Churchill famously described it as “a vast monstrosity which weighs upon the Horse Guards Parade” and he refused to use it himself. Today, the windowless bunker is covered with ivy.

The image featured above is part of the limited edition collector’s portfolio created by Leslie Hossack. She presents locations that chart Sir Winston 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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