50th anniversary of Churchill's Death

On January 24, 1965, at 8:00 a.m., Sir Winston Churchill died at his London home, 28 Hyde Park Gate. The outpouring of affection and respect was enormous. Indeed, putting matters in perspective, in its issue of January 23, 1965, the day before Churchill died, the Economist wrote: "We will boast all our lives that we lived when Winston Churchill was alive. ... Winston Churchill, like Lincoln, need not wait for the verdict of posterity to be called great."

Chartwell, his home in Kent (near Westerham), which he bought in 1922, was purchased by a group of his friends and supporters in 1947. It was presented by them to the nation with the stipulation that Winston and Clementine could live there for the rest of their lives. Baroness Churchill, as she became, survived Sir Winston, dying on December 12, 1977. Since Chartwell became a part of the National Trust, it has become one of the most visited N.T. properties in England.

Churchill's funeral was itself an extraordinary event, perhaps meriting the description, as Churchill scholar Andrew Roberts has written, "the grandest state funeral for a commoner since that of the Duke of Wellington in 1852, even overshadowing William Gladstone's in 1898."

The BBC's homage to the "Great Commoner", which was first broadcast on January 30, 1965, can be viewed on the BBC website.