Cabinet clear-out reveals Churchill letters

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Hundreds of original documents, including seven signed letters from Winston Churchill written in the 1940s, have been unearthed during a council’s spring clean.

The collection, dating from 1947 to 1949, was found in a filing cabinet at Worcester’s Guildhall and is thought to have lain undisturbed for more than 60 years.

Offering a fascinating insight into the public’s regard for Churchill in the years after the Second World War, the documents detail how he was first offered the Freedom of Worcester in 1945.

Uncovered during the reorganisation of a manager’s office, the find charts arrangements for the ceremony and luncheon which saw Churchill visit Worcester to receive the honour in May 1950.

In a letter penned by the then Mr Churchill to Worcester’s mayor on November 19, 1949, the war leader apologised for being unable to fix a date due to the uncertainty of the political situation.

“I am constantly bearing it in mind however, and will write to you again should an opportunity occur,” he wrote.

Worcester City Council’s historic environment record officer, Sheena Payne-Lunn, said: “This is such an important find which will enable us to tell the whole story of this significant event in Worcester’s history, and one that many local people still remember.

“What is so remarkable is just how much detail is contained within the collection – it is such a colourful reminder of the impact Churchill had on our nation during its darkest hour, and of the outpouring of public gratitude that he received in the years after the Second World War.

“The fact that Churchill ever visited the city is really a testament to the dogged determination of successive mayors.”

The documents will go on display in Worcester City Museum later this year.