Winston Churchill is one of the 20th century’s most famous figures. The bowler hat, the stubborn face, the cigar, the V for victory finger sign, and of course the speeches— from his silhouette to the sound of his voice, almost every part of him has become recognisable. There have been two major films made about his role in this year alone.
Yesterday, the Global Leadership students visited the Churchill War Rooms. They walked the corridors of yesteryear’s power –for the rooms are no longer used for governmental proceedings— and stood in the chambers in which monumental, world-changing decisions of both war and peace had been made. In the Map Room, the designs for D-Day and other engagements were drawn up, and in other chambers British discussions regarding post-war arrangements were held.
Especially fascinating for the students, however, was the revelation that Winston Churchill was also something of a painter. Through his life, to help him relax during the turmoil of politics and war, Churchill painted around fifty paintings, and some were on display in the War Rooms. Churchill’s painting habit was something that the students had previously not known, and it was strange, amidst so much history and rooms that have been the scene of world-changing events and conversations, to connect through his art, and in a personal way, with the man in the centre.
After the visit to the War Rooms, students visited the Houses of Parliament, seeing the chambers of the Houses of the Lords and the Commons, where the decisions that shape the modern United Kingdom are now made.
Returning to Clare College, students spent the evening practising their dancing in another salsa class, trying to remember what they had learnt in the previous session, or quizzing counsellors in a seminar on university life and applications.