Haute Vitrine

PHOTOGRAPHS by LESLIE HOSSACK

Charting Churchill: Garden Front of House, Ditchley Park

Garden Front and House, Ditchley Park 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Garden Front of House, Ditchley Park 2014

© Leslie Hossack

Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s official country residence, Chequers, was considered too dangerous on moonlight nights during the Blitz. Having been advised not to visit Chequers when the moon was high, Churchill spent a dozen weekends at Ditchley Park during World War II.

When at Ditchley Park, Churchill slept in the second floor Yellow Bedroom on the garden side of the house, overlooking the lawns and lake; Mrs. Churchill had an adjoining room. Their windows can be seen in the centre of this photograph.

According to Ashley Jackson: “Busy days gave way to busy evenings at Ditchley, as the house adapted to the pace of life favoured by Churchill, interlacing work and leisure, office time, busy mealtimes, and late night films, conferences, and dictation.” (Winston Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Ditchley Park) In addition to his personal staff, Churchill had countless visitors at Ditchley Park. These included: Harry Hopkins, Averell Harriman, Lord Rothermere, General Henry “Hap” Arnold, Anthony Eden, Polish Prime Minister General Vlatislav Sikorski, Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Eduard Beneš, and even the actor David Niven.

For the Prime Minister, the business of running the war went on as usual. Various meetings at Ditchley were attended by General Sir Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff), Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal (Chief of the Air Staff), Admiral Sir Dudley Pound (First Sea Lord), General Sir Robert Haining (Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff), Vice Admiral Sir Tom Phillips (Vice Chief of the Naval Staff), General Sir Hastings ‘Pug’ Ismay (Deputy Secretary of the War Cabinet).

On May 11th 1941, the Duke of Hamilton visited Churchill at Ditchley Park to inform him about the arrival of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s Deputy Führer. He had flown solo from Germany the previous day and parachuted into Scotland. His plan had been to meet with the Duke of Hamilton and through him bring Britain to the negotiating table. The walls at Ditchley Park could tell amazing tales.

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

Charting Churchill: The House at Ditchley Park

Front Facade, Ditchley Park 2014 by Leslie Hossack

The House at Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire 2014

© Leslie Hossack

As Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s official country residence was Chequers. However, during the Blitz, it was considered too dangerous, especially on bright moonlight nights. “The broad gravel drives at Chequers looked, from the air, almost like an arrow cut in the lawn and pointing at the house.” (Martin Gilbert) Having been advised not to visit Chequers when the moon was high, Churchill asked Ronald and Nancy Tree if he might use Ditchley Park, their exquisite country home, as a weekend retreat. During the war, Churchill spent a dozen weekends there between November 1940 and September 1942.

The estate is located in Oxfordshire, very close to Blenheim Palace where Churchill was born. On several occasions, the Prime Minister made brief visits to Blenheim while staying at Ditchley Park. It was a welcome change from London for Winston, Clementine and their daughter Mary. Of course, Churchill continued to work while there, morning, noon and night; but he also enjoyed many guests, wonderful meals, walks in the gardens, and film screenings almost every night. The entire estate was equipped with telecommunications similar to those in London, and it was guarded by the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when Churchill was in residence. Ashley Jackson has written a detailed account of wartime Ditchley Park entitled Winston Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Ditchley Park. To read this article, please visit The Churchill Centre.

By the end of 1942, German bombing raids had diminished considerably, and the Churchills spent their last weekend at Ditchley Park in September of that year. Soon after, on November 9th 1942, Churchill made a speech at the Lord Mayor’s Day Luncheon in London. He said: “Rommel’s army has been defeated. It has been routed. It has been very largely destroyed as a fighting force… Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

To learn more about events of 1942, please visit the BBC World War II Timeline. This BBC summary, prepared by Bruce Robinson, was last updated in 2011.

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

Charting Churchill: Hut 8, Bletchley Park

Hut 8, Bletchley Park 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Hut 8, Bletchley Park 2014

© Leslie Hossack

In 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill received a letter requesting more resources for top-secret Bletchley Park where hundreds were now working on breaking the German code Enigma. Churchill immediately directed his Chief of Staff, General Ismay, as follows: “ACTION THIS DAY Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this has been done.”

The first break in the naval Enigma code came in 1941. Information decrypted in Hut 8, shown above, helped reduce losses caused by German U-Boats when convoys from North America were bringing supplies to Great Britain, as she stood alone in Europe against Hitler. The staff of Hut 8, working under Alan Turing and Hugh Alexander, played a significant role in the development of machines to help with the decryption process. This eventually led to the creation of the first computers.

The United States did not enter the war until the end of 1941. During that grave year, Churchill made a number of remarkable speeches. As Edward R. Murrow said: “Now the hour had come for him to mobilize the English language, and send it into battle, a spearhead of hope for Britain and the world.” To see a list of Churchill’s speeches, please visit The Churchill Centre. Two of his speeches from 1941 are highlighted here.

Never Give In, Never, Never, Never – 29 October 1941, Harrow School “… the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

“Some Chicken; Some Neck” – 30 December 1941, Canadian Parliament “When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, ‘In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.’ Some chicken; some neck.”

To learn more about events of 1941, please visit the BBC World War II Timeline. This BBC summary, prepared by Bruce Robinson, was last updated in 2011.

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

Charting Churchill: The Main House, Bletchley Park

The Main House, Bletchley Park 2014 by Leslie Hossack

The Main House, Bletchley Park 2014

© Leslie Hossack

Throughout World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill understood the value of collecting and using military intelligence. In 1938, the government had purchased Bletchley Park estate, located 50 miles from London, where they installed their most secret codebreaking teams. The task was to break Enigma, the German code which Hitler considered unbreakable.

Initially, the Bletchley operation was centered in the Main House shown above, but soon wooden huts were built to provide work space for the growing number of staff. Later on, large concrete blocks were constructed to house even more workers, numbering almost 9,000 by 1944.

By 1940, the first breaks into Enigma were achieved by the cryptographers at Bletchley Park, also known as Station X. Churchill followed their work very closely and personally received intelligence updates throughout each day. In 1941, “Ultra” was the term adopted by British military to designate intelligence from Bletchley Park; this information was even more important than “Most Secret” – it was “Ultra Secret.” According to Sir Harry Hinsley, official historian of British Intelligence during World War II, Ultra shortened the war by not less than two years.

On September 6th 1941, Churchill visited Bletchley Park. He spoke to staff outside of the Main House and visited Hut 6. He later referred to the Bletchley cryptographers as “the geese that laid the golden eggs but never cackled.” Throughout the war, when asking for the latest Ultra reports, he often said: “Where are my eggs?” And for decades after the war was over, individuals who had worked at Station X said not one word about its existence.

To learn more about events of 1941, please visit the BBC World War II Timeline. This BBC summary, prepared by Bruce Robinson, was last updated in 2011.

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

Charting Churchill: 10 Downing Street, London

10 Downing Street, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

10 Downing Street, London 2014

© Leslie Hossack

Eight months after Britain and France declared war on Germany, Hitler invaded France, Belgium and Holland on May 10th 1040. That same day, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was summoned to Buckingham Palace by King George VI who asked him to form the new government. Churchill was now Prime Minister of Great Britain. Of that day, Churchill would later write: “I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.”

On May 13th 1940, when Churchill made his first speech as Prime Minister in the House of Commons, he famously said: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He would later look back on the war years and remark: “A million Britons died in the First World War. But nothing surpasses 1940.”

To learn more about events of 1940, please visit the BBC World War II Timeline. This BBC summary, prepared by Bruce Robinson, was last updated in 2011.

Prime Minister Churchill moved into his official residence at 10 Downing Street in the summer of 1940. As can be seen in the above photograph, Downing Street is now closed off; however, for most of its history, the street was open to the public. One of the exceptions occurred during World War II, when it was blocked off at Whitehall. In 1941, Stuart Milner-Barry encountered a wooden barrier across the road, staffed by a police officer, when he delivered a letter to Winston Churchill at 10 Downing Street. The letter was signed by Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander and Stuart Milner-Barry, all of whom were working on breaking the German Enigma codes at top-secret Bletchley Park. Their story has recently been dramatized in the movie The Imitation Game.

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

Charting Churchill: The Cabinet War Rooms, Clive Steps, London

The Cabinet Room, Cabinet War Rooms, Clive Steps, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Cabinet Room, The Cabinet War Rooms, Clive Steps, London 2014

Churchill's Office, Cabinet War Rooms, Clive Steps, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Churchill’s Office, The Cabinet War Rooms, Clive Steps, London 2014

© Leslie Hossack

After Poland was invaded by Hitler, Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3rd 1939. That same day, Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. One week earlier, the Cabinet War Rooms, London’s secret bunker designed to protect the War Cabinet and Chiefs of Staff, had become fully operational.

In May 1940, when newly appointed Prime Minister Winston Churchill first visited the Cabinet Room (top photograph) he said: “This is the room from which I will direct the war.” Churchill occupied the wooden seat in front of the map of the world and presided over a coalition of ministers from all sides of Parliament. Over 115 Cabinet meetings, approximately one in ten, were held here throughout the war. Cabinet meetings could start at any time of day or night. Churchill called many meetings here during the evening bombing raids of 1940 and 1941, and sometimes brought them to a close long after midnight.

Churchill used his office-bedroom (bottom photograph) for business and to visit the Map Room in the bunker. He delivered four of his wartime speeches from this room, but he only slept there on three occasions.

To learn more about events of 1939, please visit the BBC World War II Timeline. This BBC summary, prepared by Bruce Robinson, was last updated in 2011.

The images featured above are 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

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL’S WILDERNESS YEARS

CHARTING CHURCHILL, 1874 – 1965

Part 4, The Wilderness Years, 1929 – 1939

On November 30th 2014, Sir Winston Churchill’s 140th birthday, Haute Vitrine started publishing images from the series THE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHS by Leslie Hossack.

The previous post marked the end of Part 4, The Wilderness Years, 1929 – 1939. During this time, Sir Winston Churchill’s political career was at a stand still; he continued to serve as the Member of Parliament for Epping, but for ten long years he was not a member of the cabinet. Photographs featured in Part 4, The Wilderness Years, 1929 – 1939 can be reviewed below.

To view the photographs from Part 1, The Early Years, 1874 – 1892; Part 2, The Defining Years, 1892 – 1908; and Part 3, The Political Years, 1908 – 1929, please visit the Haute Vitrine posts of November 30th through December 31st 2014.

Leslie Hossack’s CHARTING CHURCHILL will continue through January 2015, the month that marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill.

Marlborough Room, Royal Military College, Sandhurst 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Marlborough Room, Royal Military College, Sandhurst 2014

Royal Albert Hall, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Royal Albert Hall, London 2014

11 Morpeth Mansions, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

11 Morpeth Mansions, London 2014

Berry Bros. & Rudd, 3 St. James's Street, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Berry Bros. & Rudd, 3 St. James’s Street, London 2014

Garden Wall at Chartwell, Westerham 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Brick Wall at Chartwell, Westerham 2014

Sundial at Chartwell, Westerham 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Sundial at Chartwell, Westerham 2014

Turnbull & Asser, 71-72 Jermyn Street, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Turnbull & Asser, 71-72 Jermyn Street, London 2014

Round Tower, Windsor Castle, Windsor 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Round Tower, Windsor Castle, Windsor 2014

Westminster Abbey, London 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Westminster Abbey, London 2014

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

Admiralty Citadel, Horse Guards Parade, London 2014

© Leslie Hossack

The images featured above are 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. To read the stories behind these images, please see the previous posts here on Haute Vitrine.

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