By Laura Singleton, Press Officer, Science Museum
The 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death is being marked across the Science Museum Group with two new exhibitions and the release of a collection of unseen archive photographs.
Last night around 300 distinguished guests, comprising scholars, funders and members of Churchill’s own family, gathered at the Science Museum to celebrate the opening of Churchill’s Scientists which celebrates the scientists who flourished under Churchill’s patronage.
Our Chairman, Dame Mary Archer, paid a warm tribute to the scholars and historians who have collaborated with our own curatorial team on the exhibition, adding “a very special mention in despatches for Allen Packwood and his team at the Churchill College Archives”. Among those she thanked was Professor Sir David Cannadine who richly praised the exhibition in a speech of his own.
Sir Nicholas Soames spoke on behalf of the Churchill family, recalling his grandfather’s abiding passion for science among his many great attributes. Guests at the exclusive event were treated to Churchill’s favourite brand of champagne thanks to the generosity of Pol Roger.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s state funeral and a full day of public commemoration around the UK. To pay tribute to the great leader, Science Museum Group Director Ian Blatchford and Dame Mary attended a private Churchill family memorial service at Westminster Abbey, along with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.
From today, visitors to the National Railway Museum can see the original train that took Churchill’s coffin on his final journey from London to Oxfordshire. In a moving tribute, Churchill’s Final Journey uses a locomotive and carriages, seen together for the first time in 50 years, plus archive TV footage and audio accounts from those involved to tell the tale of the journey from Waterloo to Hanborough.
No 34501 Winston Churchill, fresh from cosmetic restoration at the Mid-Hants Railway, is displayed alongside the baggage van which carried Churchill’s coffin and the Pullman carriage Lydia which carried his family and honoured guests towards his final resting place.
Say the name “Winston Churchill” and the iconic image of the war leader, standing defiant, cigar clenched between his teeth and fingers raised in a victory salute, is at the forefront of many people’s minds. To mark this historic occasion, the National Media Museum has released some rarely seen photographs of Churchill from the Daily Herald newspaper archive.
The selection unearthed this week gives an extraordinary insight into Churchill’s public duties and private life. It includes images of his days in the military, intimate family scenes, his fondness for animals, and even boyhood portraits collected retrospectively for his obituary.
The Science Museum Group’s offer forms part of Churchill 2015, a unique programme of events that commemorate Churchill’s life, work and achievements in the 50th anniversary year of his death. Visit www.churchillcentral.com for more information.