HARROW GREETS AN OLD BOY - An original press photo of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill making his annual visit to Harrow, his alma mater, on 27 November 1953
HARROW GREETS AN OLD BOY - An original press photo of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill making his annual visit to Harrow, his alma mater, on 27 November 1953

HARROW GREETS AN OLD BOY - An original press photo of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill making his annual visit to Harrow, his alma mater, on 27 November 1953

London: Copyright Central Press Photos Ltd., published by The Daily Telegraph, 28 November 1953. Photograph. This original press photo captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill on 27 November 1953 making his annual visit to Harrow for Songs. The gelatin silver print on matte photo paper measures 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Condition is very good. The paper is crisp, clean, and free of scuffing with only light edge wear. This press photo once belonged to the working archives of The Daily Telegraph and features their Art Department’s original, hand-applied retouching to the figures as well as original crop markings. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Central Press Photos”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph dated 28 NOV 1953, handwritten printing notations, and a newspaper clipping of the caption as it appeared in print reading, “HARROW GREETS AN OLD BOY. Sir Winston Churchill acknowledging with his victory sign the cheers from the boys of his old school, when he made his annual visit yesterday evening.” In the spring of 1888 a thirteen-year-old Winston Churchill was sent to Harrow, an independent boys boarding school that dates to the 16th century. Harrow was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I. When this image was captured, Churchill was serving as Prime Minister under her namesake successor, Queen Elizabeth II, who invested Churchill as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in June of the following year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Churchill was known to exhibit some precocity while a Harrow student. One story goes that a frustrated tutor exclaimed “I don’t know what to do with you boys!” to which a voice retorted “Teach us, Sir!” “The voice came from a chubby imp with carrot hair – Winston Churchill. [The teacher] never forgot it.” (Harold Nicolson, Diaries and Letters 1907-1963, p.394) Churchill’s time at Harrow was relatively short – he left for the Royal Military College at Sandhurst in 1892 – but the school and its most famous alumnus recalled and renewed their influence on each other. Harrow has a strong tradition of school songs; “The Harrow School Songs, sung by the houses each term and by the whole school annually, were written by masters to encourage pupils to identify with the school, its famous alumni, and Britain’s glorious past.” (Roberts, Walking with Destiny, p.24) The first Harrow Song was written by a Harrow music instructor in 1864. “They are sung in Houses every term and regularly as a whole School. Twice a year, the Harrow Association (Harrow's Old Boys society) holds Songs in Speech Room for Old Harrovians from a particular age group.” (Harrow School) In 1940, at the start of WWII, Churchill visited his old school for Songs. His alma mater honored him with a verse, “Nor less we praise in sterner days | The leader of our nation, | And Churchill’s name shall win acclaim | From each new generation. | While in this fight to guard the Right | Our country you defend, Sir. | Here grim and gay we mean to stay, | and stick it to the end, Sir.” Churchill said of this visit “Listening to those boys singing all those well-remembered songs I could see myself fifty years before singing with them those tales of great deeds and of great men and wondering with intensity how I could ever do something glorious for my country.” Churchill’s son “believed that ‘The stirring patriotism these verses evoked abided with him for ever and were the mainspring of his political conduct.’” (OB, Vol.I, p.112-113) Beginning with that 1940 visit, Churchill made it tradition to attend the Songs yearly. His 1953 visit, when this photograph was taken, was the fourteenth consecutive year. He joined in the Songs and gave a short speech to the schoolboys in attendance, saying that he visited with “high hopes” and “cast out upon the future expectations that we shall make good all along the line.” (Gilbert, Vol. VIII, p.914) Today Harrow holds “Churchill Songs” every autumn in front of an audience of special guests that includes members of royalty, governments, and the Churchill family. Item #005421

Price: $150.00

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