Parliament Week Curator's Choice: Winston Churchill's War Rooms despatch box

Cressida Finch interviewed by Ben Miller | 13 October 2011
A photo of an old red despatch box on a blue table
© Robert C Wallace, flickr.com/photos/robwallace
Parliament Week Curator's Choice: In her own Words…Cressida Finch, of the Churchill War Rooms in London, on Winston Churchill's despatch box

"We've got this despatch box on display in the War Cabinet Room, which is particularly interesting because most ministers would just have the title of their office, so you would expected Churchill to have just have had ‘Prime Minister’ on the box.

But quite early in his career Churchill wanted to show that he was here to stay, so he had his name added to the despatch box.

This is one that he would have carried his papers around in, especially when he was Prime Minister.

It’s got this Barbados sticker on it, which is something of a surprise. We think that’s because when Churchill’s son, Randolph, was doing his father's biography, he took some of his papers in that box to Barbados, and probably his son – another Winston – would have stuck the Barbados sticker on it. So it’s become part of its history.

It's presented very much as it was at the time, and the fact that most of the objects we have on display here are in their original state is part of what makes the War Rooms a really satisfying place to work in."

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