The Londoness


Born in Paris.

Made in London.

Teller of London Tales.

Tales of my City: Winston Churchill’s London

In celebration of VE Day 75, Winston Churchill shares his favourite London hotspots, the first thing he’ll be doing after lockdown and how he wants to meet Sir David Attenborough.

This is the first in the series Tales of my City, where I interview a ghost of London past. A flight of fancy, these are entirely fictional but are also peppered with some fun facts.

Winston Churchill’s London

Winston Churchill by Henry Mayo Bateman, 1912

What is the first thing you’ll do when lockdown is lifted?

Where did Winston Churchill buy his cigars

The Freddie Fox Museum in the basement of James J. Fox. In the corner is Winston Churchill’s chair.

I will crack open a bottle or two of Pol Roger champagne and smoke one of my Romeo y Julieta cigars, purchased from James J. Fox on  St James’s Street.

Share a secret with me?

I once gifted my lion Rota, my leopard Sheba, and my two white kangaroos, Digger and Matilda, to the London Zoo at The Regent’s Park.

OK, but what’s your guilty secret?

During the war, I had my oxygen mask adapted so that I could smoke whilst wearing it. You should try it with your face mask, Londoness.

What do you most dislike?

Marmalade and Chinese food.

What would be your last supper?

Turtle soup, roast beef (served pink) with Yorkshire puddings, tinned mandarin slices with ice-cream and some Stilton. I would wash it down with Pol Roger after which a brandy would help ease my “indy” (indigestion).

“It is well to remember that the stomach governs the world.”

 Favourite likeness?

Winston Churchill’s London

Photo by Remko Vandokkum

The astronomical clock at Bracken House (and no, I am not the inspiration for the Teletubbies Baby!)

Favourite cultural bolthole?

Winston Churchill’s London

The Royal Academy of Arts. I have exhibited 50 of my paintings in this fine institution. They also have an Academicians’ Room with a decent bar.

Favourite restaurant?

Winston Churchill’s London

Berners Tavern, London

The Savoy Grill, table No 4. I do hope Kaspar the Savoy cat is still in residence? I have also been meaning to try a full English at Berners Tavern.

Where do you stay in London?

I don’t stay in a hotel. I stay in Brown’s.

What’s your comfort food?

Curried brains. My favourite curry houses include Veeraswamy and the India Club on Strand. You should try their butter chicken.

Who is the Londoner you most admire?

Sir David Attenborough. I should like to discuss his war on plastics.

Favourite perfume?

Blenheim Bouquet by Penhaligon’s and Tabaróme Millésime by Creed.

You’re such a style icon – share your tips please

Winston Churchill’s London

Image: US Library of Congress

A gentleman buys his hats at Locks, his shoes at Lobbs, his shirts at Harvie and Hudson, his suits at Huntsman and his cheese at Paxton & Whitfield. My specs are from C.W. Dixey and Sons, specially tailored with two white dots on the temple tips. I designed the siren suit (which I believe you refer to as a “onesie”), made to my exact specifications by Turnbull & Asser.

I understand that I have an outstanding bill for £197 at the tailors Henry Poole and Co. Would someone be so kind as to settle it for me?

“My tastes are simple. I am easily satisfied by the best.”

If you had to break a rule, which one would it be?

Churchill VE Day

I would stick two fingers up at your peculiar non-smoking rules. A gentleman needs his cigars! Fortunately, I can still smoke at the Lanesborough or in the Churchill Bar at the Hyatt.

Sources: winstonchurchill.org, Victory in the Kitchen by Annie Gray.

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