Winston Churchill 24th November 1951
I have read that the Prince of Wales's new Institute of Architecture has been thinking of taking up the challenge of designing and building a new public building. The 50th anniversary of the Ending of the Second World War in 1995 presents them and the nation with the perfect opportunity.
CHURCHILL HOUSE should be a living War Memorial.
If its running is devoted to Commemorating the War Dead and Churchill's achievements in a visionary way, it cannot fail to be of great inspirational and practical value - especially to young people.
I hope that by the 50th anniversary of the Ending of the Second World War - VJ Day August 1995 - the society's constitution and committee would be in place, so that the aims of the society - especially its ideas regarding CHURCHILL HOUSE could be widely publicised in that very special year.
A sub committee of architects and laymen should establish what facilities will be required in CHURCHILL HOUSE then recommend sites.
A possible site could be on that now occupied by the former admiralty blockhouse on the left side of the Horse Guards Parade Ground.
CHURCHILL HOUSE would then complete the third side of the square.
On the left of the pictures above is the hideous Second World War bunker on the Mall side of Horse Guards Parade Ground Whitehall.
Churchill called it "That vast monstrosity which weighs on the Horse Guards Parade"
It is astonishing - and perhaps fortuitous - that after over 50 years it still exists! For the site - if handled with great sensitivity in a classical style - is perfect for Churchill House.
It was built 1940-41 as an operations centre for the Admiralty. The foundations are nine metres deep, and a six metre thick concrete roof protects the principal rooms. It remains a gaunt reminder of the Second World War. In an attempt to disguise the original function of the building, it is now covered with Russian vine and the roof is grassed over, and is cut twice a year.
The site (and its clearance) for CHURCHILL HOUSE, could be provided by the government and/or funded from a world wide appeal.
and English oak, and all the building work and manufacture of component parts should be by technical college final year City and Guilds students as part of their final examinations and all done under the supervision of their tutors, who in turn would be expected to meet the architects specifications.
Technical Colleges from all over the world would be invited to participate, with either the building trade construction companies supplying building materials free (in return for advertising entitlements), or the purchase of them being funded by the Colleges with money given by THE CHURCHILL SOCIETY from that collected from the main appeal
Upon each piece of work delivered on site on time and up to specification; the student/s would be entitled to sign his or her work, be it a window casement, a door and door case, a section of, or a complete plaster ornament or cornice - a carved section of joinery, some piece of specially designed and made furniture, carpets, or soft furnishings etc. Whatever is needed - students must build, make, and install it and as the years go by maintain or replace it.
The sense of purpose and pride in craftsmanship that such a project will generate will enable the scale of the project to become truly worthwhile Memorial to the appalling sacrifices our fathers had to make in the awesome wars of this century - and the end result will delight everyone.
Upon completion of CHURCHILL HOUSE, a leather bound book (made by a student bookbinder) should be upon open and permanent display in the entrance to CHURCHILL HOUSE, listing the names of the students, their technical colleges and all their suppliers, who from the laying of the foundation stone to completion, laid the brick courses, quarried the stone, made the tiles and laid the roof and lead flashings; laid all the marble and wooden inlaid floors and made and carved all the internal joinery etc. The book should name all those who supplied - and the students who installed - the plumbing and electrical installations including the in-house Recording, Radio, TV studios. It should also list the names of all those who laid out and planted the gardens and who in turn, maintain them. Likewise the Hotel and Catering College students each month, year upon year, alternate and organise and run on a proper commercial basis, the CHURCHILL HOUSE catering facilities.
The Churchill Society is still at an embryonic stage. It needs the support not only of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust but of the many influential and good people in this and other countries who do not as yet know of the Society's ideas.
There is an army of people who today have been forced into idleness, unemployment or early retirement and who would be delighted to help the Society.
These ideas, if presented properly to the people, will not daunt them, but inspire and fire their imaginations far more than the Channel Tunnel - for the building of CHURCHILL HOUSE will touch the very deepest chords within us all.
The project can be turned into a marvellous revival - not only of civic architecture - but a revival of national self confidence and pride in our country.
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