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Chartwell was the family home of Sir Winston Churchill from 1922 until his death in 1965. The house is situated 2 miles south of Westerham in Kent off the B2026 road.
Churchill loved the house, especially the view over the Weald of Kent. He modernised the originally rather gloomy Victorian mansion, by adding a garden wing consisting of three large and attractive rooms. Churchills wife Clementine made her contribution by choosing the comfortable furniture and floral chintz curtains. The estate consisting of 80 acres gave Winston the peace and tranquility that he loved, and he relaxed by paintingin the garden or in his studio and by transforming the grounds with new lakes, and robust brick walls built with his own hands.The Chart Well which rises on the western boundary of the site fed the existing lake and gave the estate its name.
During Churchills first five years at Chartwell he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, this was followed by what has become known as his wilderness years in the 1930's when he was out of office and did much of his writing to keep the family finances afloat.
With the rise of Fascism in Europe Churchill passionately argued the case for rearmament, and his inspired leadership during the war years are a permanent part of our history. Chartwell was closed up during the war years, except for the occasional visit. Despite his election defeat in 1945, when the public craved change and a new beginning, he was still widely acknowledged as the greatest living Englishman and Chartwell soon became a shrine to to his wartime achievements. In 1947 a group of Churchills friends purchased the house so that he could continue living there and in 1966 Chartwell was opened to the public for the first time.
Churchills beloved view of the weald of Kent from the terrace was spoilt when the great Storm of 16th October 1987 devastated the woodland landscape on the hillside directly opposite. It will be many years yet before it regains its original character.
Churchill was the greatest orator of his day, the greatest leader of the Second World War, the greatest statesman of his age, and the greatest Englishman of the twentieth century, perhaps of all time. The debt owed to Sir Winston Churchill by the free world remains immeasurable.
A visit to this house and gardens is a must for all fans of Churchill and if you are too young to remember him, then it is still a very pleasant place to visit and learn about the great man.