London: Sport & General Press Agency, April 1960. Photograph. This original press photograph features Sir Winston S. Churchill smoking a cigar on his way to the House of Commons to listen to the budget speech on 4 April 1960. This image measures 10 x 8 in (25.4 x 20.3 cm) on matte photo paper. Condition is very good minus. The paper is crisp, clean, and free of scuffing with only some minor wear along the edges and a 1.5 in scratch to the surface of the image on the right edge. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Sport & General Press Agency”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph from April 1960, and a typed caption. The original caption reads “SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL, WHO ARRIVED BACK YESTERDAY (SUN) FROM HIS CARIBBEAN CRUISE, LEAVES HIS HYDE PARK GATE HOME FOR THE HOUSE OF COMMONS TO HEAR THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER’S BUDGET SPEECH.” Immediately below in the same ink is typed “Sir Winston Churchill smoking a large cigar leaves his Hyde Park Gate home for the House of Commons.” The photograph caption is dated “4@4@60”.
Churchill’s official biographer makes no mention of a 4 April 1960 visit to the House of Commons, but Churchill had just returned from time aboard his friend Aristotle Onassis’s yacht Christina in the Caribbean, “reaching Hyde Park Gate on the afternoon of April 3” and immediately embarking upon “a busy three days” that saw him dining at the Other Club on 4 April and attending banquets at Buckingham Palace and the French Embassy on 5 and 6 April. (Gilbert, VIII, p.1311) Winston S. Churchill was 80 years old when he resigned his second and final premiership on 5 April 1955.
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.
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 press photograph was taken in the twilight of Churchill’s remarkable life and career. Item #005394