London: Keystone Press Agency, 10 April 1957. Photograph. This original press photo shows Sir Winston S. Churchill and Lady Clementine Churchill purchasing a geranium on the Greater London Fund for the Blind’s annual Geranium Day on 9 April 1957. This image measures 8 x 10 in (20.3 x 25.4 cm) on matte photo paper. Condition is good plus. The paper is toned overall with some soiling, original crop markings, and cockling. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Keystone Press Agency Ltd.”, a published stamp of The Daily Telegraph from 10 April 1957, handwritten printing notations, and a clipping of the caption as it was printed. The original caption reads: “SIR WINSTON BUYS GERANIUM DAY EMBLEM. On his way to the House of Commons to hear the Budget speech yesterday, Sir Winston Churchill, who was accompanied by Lady Churchill, stopped to buy an emblem from the Hon. Mrs. Zulueta, wife of the Prime Minister’s private secretary.”
Sir Philip de Zulueta (1925-1989) was appointed private secretary to Churchill’s successor, Anthony Eden, in 1955 and continued in the role under Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Blind newspaper magnate Sir Arthur Pearson (1866-1921) founded the Greater London Fund for the Blind in 1921. In April of that year the first Geranium Day was held with the flowers sold to raise funds for blind and sight impaired Britons. Nearly one century later, GLFB continues to hold their yearly Geranium Day fundraisers.
This press photo once belonged to The Daily Telegraph’s working archive. During the first half of the twentieth century, photojournalism grew as a practice, fundamentally changing the way the public interacted with current events. Newspapers assembled expansive archives, including physical copies of all photographs published or deemed useful for potential future use, their versos typically marked with ink stamps and notes providing provenance and captions. Photo departments would often take brush, paint, pencil, and marker to the surface of photographs themselves to edit them before publication. Today these photographs exist as repositories of historical memory, technological artifacts, and often striking pieces of vernacular art.
This original photograph was taken two years after Churchill resigned his second and final premiership on 5 April 1955 at age 80. During the last decade of his long life, Churchill passed "into a living national memorial" of the time he had lived and the Nation, Empire, and free world he had served. The day after Churchill died, on 25 January 1965, the Queen sent a message to Parliament announcing: "Confident in the support of Parliament for the due acknowledgement of our debt of gratitude and in thanksgiving for the life and example of a national hero" and concluded "I have directed that Sir Winston's body shall lie in State in Westminster Hall and that thereafter the funeral service shall be held in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.” Churchill's state funeral was attended by the Queen herself, other members of the royal family, the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and representatives of 112 countries. It was the first time in a century that a British monarch attended a commoner’s funeral. Item #005378