On Monday 17th June, Volunteers and Staff enjoyed their annual outing. This year the venue was the National Trust property Chartwell home of Winston Churchill from 1922 until 1965. Peter Hickling, Marks Hall Volunteer, has written an account about the day, which we would like to share with you.

Volunteer Outing 2019

The 2019 Volunteer Outing departed, with our driver Phil, promptly at 8.30am from Marks Hall, taking us into Kent and on to Chartwell, in the village of Westerham, famous for its connection with Sir Winston Churchill, his home from 1922 until his death in 1965.


On arrival we received a welcome briefing by a National Trust (NT) volunteer, enjoyed a welcome drink of tea or coffee and biscuits and were allotted times for our house visits later that morning. This meant we had time for woodland walks or visits to the extensive gardens before entry to the house.

 

There were so many areas within the beautiful gardens but the highlights were Lady Churchill’s Rose Garden, roses were always important in the lives of Sir Winston and Lady Clementine; the productive Kitchen Garden, recently restored to its former glory by the NT, still featuring some walls built by Sir Winston; the Golden Rose Walk; the Marycot, a brick playhouse, again built by Sir Winston for his children; the Croquet Lawn; the Water and Rock Gardens….all magnificently maintained.

 

The woodland walks gave rise to wonderful views of the house and gardens of Chartwell, as well as the magnificent lakes and also impressive trees of the Weald of Kent, stretching away towards the North Downs.

 

Some of us were able to make time to visit The Studio, where Sir Winston passed many hours at his easel. With so many of his paintings displayed on the walls, some unfinished, it did indeed look as though he might well walk in at any time to continue painting. Verdicts on the paintings….well, that’s very personal!

 

When it was our turn to view the interior of the house we were able to appreciate how the Churchill’s lived in what was very much their ‘home’ away from official residences. The magnificent Drawing Room, the Library, Lady Churchill’s Bedroom, the Study and the spacious Dining Room, all had beautiful furniture and interesting works of art with many stories to tell, but none more than the superb displays in the Museum, Uniform Room and Exhibition Rooms, much these so very appropriate as we remembered the D-Day Landings in France 75 years ago.


 

Purchased by a number of friends and admirers of Churchill, so that he might continue to live there until his death, Chartwell proved an excellent venue for our annual volunteers excursion. Our thanks to the Trustees and Visitor Centre staff for a most enjoyable day…and to Phil…for returning us home safely and very pleased with our day away.

 

Peter Hickling

Marks Hall Volunteer