The text below contains the most significant aspects of an article in the London Guardian Newspaper on June 6th 1997.
The text in italics was NOT in the article. They are THE CHURCHILL SOCIETY Editor's comments - for the benefit of overseas readers.
"We must recognise that we have a great inheritance in our possession,
which represents the prolonged achievement of the centuries;
that there is not one of our simple uncounted rights today
for which better men than we are have not died on the scaffold or the battlefield.
We have not only a great treasure; we have a great cause.
Are we taking every measure within our power to defend that cause?
Winston Churchill Paris September 1936
Lord Rothschild continued . . . . .
I must take issue with Dr Charmley's (historian) comment (June 5th 1997 in the Guardian) that purchasing of Churchill's papers without buying the copyright "was an act deserving an award for stupidity".
For more than than two years before the lottery, the National Heritage and Memorial Fund had tried to persuade the Churchill family trustees (Churchill's relatives and their lawyers) not to break up the archive by sale at auction and to negotiate a purchase. (selling price)
The papers were a gift by Lady Churchill to Churchill College Cambridge at the suggestion of Sir Winston.
With the arrival of the lottery we had to make a decision. Why, when the High Court has never decided their title to them?
We always recognised that the purchase of the archives would be contentious.
Many people will always feel that the archive should have been given to the nation by the Churchill family, and that in any event they should not have benefited to the extent of their hugely increased market value.
It appears that Churchill's children - even after having lived lives of prestigious luxury basking in their father/grandfather's reflected glory since 1940 - nonetheless disregarded the appalling suffering and millions of deaths to which these papers relate and threatened to sell these papers at auction if the government did not buy them. This, it appears, in spite of an undecided High Court Challenge to their title to the papers.
An effete Conservative government caved under the threat and Lord Rothchild's independent (?) National Lottery Commission purchased them.
The Prime Minister, Mr John Major, did not inform the public of the true circumstances surrounding this matter; he just issued a statement saying that they were being bought for the nation to mark the 50th Anniversary of the ending of the Second World War. The pay off took place a few days before the Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the ending of the most terrible war in the history of mankind. It hugely upset the nation and the Commonwealth - especially those who had fought in the war and those who had lost relatives. An additional knock on effect of this was that no application thereafter could be made to The National Lottery for funds to properly commemorate Churchill's great achievements - because his children snatched the money!
The Churchill Trustees (the family with their lawyers) not unreasonably pointed to their fiduciary obligations as a matter of law - (special pleading?) and after all, the papers belonged to the family and were theirs to sell. (How is this so if Lady Churchill gave them to the College at the suggestion of Sir Winston? Why was the proposed auction by the family challenged in the High Court? Who brought that action and what was the outcome - no-one has ever been allowed to know).
Lord Rothschild continued . . . . . in arriving at a valuation, we set aside those papers whose ownership was contentious and attached no value to them (Why?)
Subsequent auction sales of the Churchill papers vindicates this advice. (This is the first public news that some of the papers have in fact been auctioned) and I have no doubt that the archives if broken, up, would have fetched far more than the Churchill trustees (family) received.
The cost of buying out the copyright - owned not just by Churchill, but also the descendants of all those who wrote to him - would have cost even more money. (Under the present arrangements it would appear that the descendants of all those who wrote to Churchill still receive no copyright royalties so Rothschild's argument fails - whilst the Churchill family - having already received vast royalties before the staggering sum of £12.500,000 was then paid to them for papers the nation had always cared for at great cost - now gather all the future royalties too).
The valuation was, of course, carried out to reflect this in its terms . . . . . . .
THE CHURCHILL SOCIETY'S Editor's note.
*It is sad to observe how both Churchill's parents, and all his children failed him, and caused so much distress.
It was astonishing that the very first Lottery payout was snatched by Churchill's children; they being bought off by the government with a payment of twelve and a half million pounds.
Public uproar and dismay followed this further example of Conservatism in practice.
It is wrong that Churchill's daughter Mary - with other family relatives and their friends (all unelected), control the publicly owned and funded WINSTON CHURCHILL MEMORIAL TRUST and are able just by virtue of their parentage, to patronize the public with the public's own money. By their bad behaviour they taint the Trust.
There is little chance that the Trust can now (without huge embarrassment) apply for funds from THE NATIONAL LOTTERY to expand its work.
It is sad that Churchill's children so alienate the public.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was funded by the people in honour of Churchill's great achievements.
It must now be reformed and become independent of Churchill's relatives.
_______________________________________ We desire to be judged only by results Winston Churchill. House of Commons
February 11th 1943
Winston Churchill's Medals.
It was announced yesterday by Winston Churchill (minor) that he had presented on loan his grandfather's medals to the Imperial War Museum for display at the cabinet war rooms.
What he failed to reveal, was that in doing so he saves himself the fear of being burgled for them - almost certainly the heavy expense of insuring them - and whether or not he has paid the inheritance tax on them*.
Sensible man you say..............until you remember the shameful thing he and the family did when they blackmailed the effete Prime Minister John Major and his Conservative government and the nation to pay him £12,500,000 for the on loan Chartwell papers and for which the family still continue to charge outrageous copyright fees.
There is nothing to stop him or his children doing the same thing again. Likewise with the on loan contents of Chartwell.
_______________________________________________ The Times Newspaper
September 7th 1998
Mr Mark Thomas has accepted a position advising Chancellor Gordon Brown about reforming the tax system to ensure that rich people cannot cheat.
Mr Thomas was invited after his television programme revealed that Nicholas Soames (Churchill's grandson and Conservative MP and former Minister) * avoided paying inheritance tax on family heirlooms he had been left, by listing them as available to public inspection when they were not.
Where are all the many missing majestic jewelled silver and gold boxes,
the superb commemorative cut glass and enamelled plaques and mementos
and the spectacularly bejewelled solid gold and silver sculptural pieces
that were bestowed upon Churchill by foreign Kings and Queens
and the huge number of gifts given in his honour by Governments from all over the world
including many from Arab Royalty and the Emirates - all of which were originally on display
at Chartwell when it first opened and which are now missing?
It was Sir Winston's desire that all of these should be permanently on display at Chartwell.
.________________________ The only people Churchill never forgave were those who,
in the words he so often used:-
"fell beneath the level of events" _______________________
Because of his record Mr W S Churchill's appointment as Chairman of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
is as astonishing as it is improper and he must resign.
The story of the Churchill family and their friends promotion (in 1988) of the West End Musical with 'Winnie' singing in his bath! After three performances it was taken off. It was reputed to have lost £3 million pounds and was described by a Buckingham Palace courtier as "just done for money, money, money . . . . vulgar vulgar vulgar!"
The Churchill family to pay back The Lottery Money.
The High Court (London) proceedings. Who owned the Chartwell Papers?
How safe are the contents of Chartwell?
Copy of correspondence with The National Trust.
Churchill's daughter Mary Soames,
Churchill's grandson Nicholas Soames,
Churchill's grandson Winston Churchill minor.
'Conservative Party sleaze added to the continuing collapse of moral standards in the UK. From 1983 onwards it gathered pace and led to the national uproar caused by the the story of the Churchill family threatening to sell Sir Winston and Lady Churchill's gift to Churchill College of The Chartwell Papers.
Lord Rothschild's letter.
February 13 2000 The Sunday Times Newspaper
London. A copyright article.
Lottery-funded Churchills' charge academics £50 a letter.
The very sad press chronology of Winston S Churchill Jnr.
Professor Charmley writes: Is there no end to the making of money by the family our of Sir Winston?
Commercial advertising. Cashing in on Churchill. Who authorised this crude example?
Criticisms of the book 'Churchill's Private Letters' selected, edited, and published by his daughter Mary Soames.
May 1999. Important information.
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