The name 'International Churchill
Societies' is a misnomer.
The first Churchill 'association' formed in the
UK was in the early 1960's and is said to have been by dealers in
Churchill memorabilia. It had no aims and floundered.
No-one in the UK has ever explained how or when
it came under the influence of the American dealer in Churchill
memorabilia, stamps and books - a Mr Richard Langworth, and his
company called Churchillbooks Inc of New Hampshire in the USA; or
when, why or who changed the name to International Churchill Societies. A number of people joined this, but few remained
members for very long because it did nothing and had no aims or
Mr Langworth is knowledgeable about Churchill
but is too young to have had any experience the last world war. He
comes frequently to the UK on book and Churchill memorabilia buying
Mr Langworth never permitted a UK ICS
membership list to be published, but at no time did membership
attendance at the annual meetings exceed 35 persons.
How, when or why Churchill's daughter Mary
became involved as the 'Patron' of ICS is not known. Neither she -
nor any other member of the Churchill family - were actively
Canada was the first country to form societies
in honour the memory of Churchill. It has at least three - and they
are older than ICS. They are independent of each other - and
The former ICS in the UK collapsed in
There is little or no interest in Churchill and
ICS in Australia and none in New Zealand.
Thus Mr Langworth's claim today that ICS is a
world wide association of Churchill Societies has yet to be proved.
Thus the name 'Churchill
Societies' is a misnomer and the
When these matters were discussed privately by
UK ICS members prior to 1989 it led to the discovery of the great
differences between UK and USA legal requirements for the running of
ICS claims on its web site and current
literature to have support in the United Kingdom today - but ICS UK
collapsed in 1989 as a consequence of these discoveries.
The history of this collapse is as
In 1986 the meeting held by ICS in the UK that
year was held at Chartwell. (Churchill's home managed by The National Trust)
About 35 persons were present, many of
whom were dismayed to find that the room had been turned by dealers
in Churchill memorabilia into something akin to a car boot sale. This
had happened on previous occasions but on a small scale and was
assumed to be a way of fund raising.
As usual, the meeting bore no resemblance to
a normal Annual General
Meeting. Yet again that year, during the
meeting, constitutional questions asked by members - such as when
were elections to be held? Why was their no committee? How many
members were there in the society? and how much money was in the
society's bank? were all side stepped with the skilful manipulation
of the meeting's time table. Finally the meeting was then addressed
by Langworth. He spoke of how thriving the 'chapters' were in many
other countries and of the great plans for the UK society for the
After the meeting, a number of members stated
that the previous holding of genuine non
commercial exhibitions of members
collections of Churchill memorabilia was perfectly acceptable to
them; but expressed their dismay that Churchill's own beloved home
had this time been used for substantial private and commercial
dealing in Churchill memorabilia by a few members, and also by people
who had never been at meetings before.
As members could not decide whether this
dealing had been organised, they expressed their dismay to Mr
Langworth and Mr Wheeler. (Mr Wheeler is not a dealer).
At the next United Kingdom ICS Annual General
Meeting , members expressed concern that so many eminent people who
sought information about the society failed to join and were never
heard from again. It was thought that these people would not join
because ICS was not in fact a society, because it had no
constitution, no aims, and did nothing from one year to the
Members became uneasy about the aimlessness,
the diminishing support, and the persistent year on year failure of
Langworth's hyped up ambitious 'plans' to materialise. They told him
that the reputation of the society was being seriously damaged by the
dealers in Churchilliana and its Masonic secretiveness.
This brought into open discussion the absence
of any constitution or governing committee, the refusal of Langworth
or Wheeler to produce any membership list or reveal the annual
accounts. Members stated bluntly that it was a ramshackle
disorganised affair and should be properly organised if it was to be
worthy of Churchill and develop.
Members were then very surprised to learn that
ICS UK had been granted charity status. (This was prior to the public
demand for the reform of the Charity Commission).
In 1989, the more thoughtful ordinary members
demanded that a proper society be formed with the appropriate a legal
constitution. To this end they asked a judge - who at the time was a
new member - to formulate the necessary constitution.
This he did, and after preparing copies he
invited the these members to his home to explain the British law for
societies and the details of his proposed constitution.
His work appeared in vain for nothing happened.
It was said by one person present at that meeting that the judge's
advice was persistently challenged; and that thereafter a distinct
As the names and addresses of members remained
secret it was not possible to inform them about the new
When the suppression of these events eventually
became known to members, the judge and the most important members
promptly resigned - and in time the rest just drifted away.
The Churchill family knew of all these
developments as they unfolded but they did nothing. Later, a friend
of theirs was approved by them to be the UK 'Director' of
ICS. He had never been known to be a member.
His name was *Jonathan