Charting Churchill: Stable Court, Blenheim Palace

Stable Court, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Stable Court, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock 2014

© Leslie Hossack

In 1895, the year he celebrated his twenty-first birthday, Winston Churchill completed his training as a cavalry cadet at Sandhurst, buried his father, was commissioned as an officer in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, buried his nanny, made his first trip overseas to the United States and Cuba, was posted to India, and fell in love. Winston had embarked upon a series of undertakings and exploits that would define the rest of his life.

Many of Churchill’s decisions were influenced by his love of horses, a love that began when he was a very young child. He first learned to ride while visiting with his grandparents at Blenheim Palace whose Stable Court is pictured above. Later, in his book My Early Life, Churchill described the cavalry training he underwent as a Recruit Officer after leaving Sandhurst: disciplined, demanding drill in the Riding-School, at the Stables and on the Barrack Square.

In the fall of 1896, Second Lieutenant Winston Churchill was posted to India. By now he had discovered his love for polo which he indulged in Bangalore and went on to play for decades. Later in his life, Churchill turned his interest to thoroughbred horses which he bred, bought, sold and raced. But of all his adventures connected with horses, perhaps the most dramatic was his participation in the charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman in Sudan, in September 1898. It has since been styled as the last great cavalry charge in history, and when he took part in it, Winston Churchill was only 23 years old.

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.