London: The Associated Press Ltd., February 1961. Photograph. This original press photo shows Sir Winston S. Churchill at the Admiralty House following a lunch with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. This press photo once belonged to The Daily Telegraph’s working archive. The image measures 10 x 8 in (25.4 x 20.3 cm) on matte photo paper. Condition is very good. The paper is crisp, clean, and free of scuffing with only some very slight bruising to the corners. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “The Associated Press Ltd.”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph from February 1961, and a typed caption. The caption is titled: “CHURCHILL JOINS MACMILLAN FOR LUNCH” and reads “PREMIER HAROLD MACMILLAN POSES WITH SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL AT THE FRONT DOOR OF HIS TEMPORARY HEADQUARTERS AT ADMIRALTY HOUSE IN LONDON TODAY, FEBRUARY 8, AS THE ELDER STATESMAN ARRIVED FOR LUNCH. SIR WINSTON, NOW OUT AND ABOUT AGAIN AFTER THE BACK INJURY HE SUFFERED IN NOVEMBER, LEAVES FOR A HOLIDAY IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE THIS SATURDAY.”
This photograph represents a powerful amalgamation of people and places from Churchill’s remarkable life and career. Admiralty House was for nearly two centuries the official residence of the First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchill had begun both the First and Second World Wars as First Lord of the Admiralty, serving from 1911-1915 and 1939-1940. During the First World War, Churchill served as First Lord until he was scapegoated and forced from the Cabinet over the Dardanelles. He spent his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches.
Before the end of the First World War, Churchill was exonerated and rejoined the Government, foreshadowing the political isolation and restoration he would experience nearly two decades later leading up to the Second World War. Churchill spent his "Wilderness Years" of the 1930s out of power and out of favor, his warning about the dangers of a rising Nazi Germany often at odds with both his party leadership and prevailing public sentiment. But in September 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill was called back to the Admiralty. There – nearly a quarter century after he had been forced to resign - he began work again "in the same room, and at the same desk, where he had worked as first Lord" during the First World War. (Gilbert, Volume VI, p.4)
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (1894-1986) served both in Churchill’s wartime government and the cabinet of Churchill’s second premiership. As it did for Churchill, the outbreak of the Second World War proved his qualities and brought him into the government. In his crucial role as a wartime liaison reporting directly to Churchill, “On several occasions his diplomacy saved the day” (ODNB) – often to both Churchill’s benefit and consternation. Macmillan returned to Britain to join the Cabinet as secretary of state for air just before Labour won the General Election in July 1945. When the Conservatives returned to power in 1951, Macmillan served as minister of housing and then, in quick succession, minister of defence, foreign secretary, and chancellor of the exchequer under the premierships of Churchill and Eden. When the Suez crisis and ill health forced Eden’s resignation, Macmillan became premier, remaining in office until Cabinet scandals and ill health forced his resignation in October 1963.
When Churchill broke his hip in Monte Carlo on June 1962, there was concern that the injury might prove fatal and Churchill’s secretary conveyed to 10 Downing Street Churchill’s wish: I want to die in England”. It was Prime Minister Macmillan who ordered an RAF Comet to ferry Churchill home. Macmillan’s grandfather had founded Macmillan publishers, who published Churchill’s 1906 biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. During the Second World War Macmillan reprinted several of Churchill’s books and, after his premiership, Harold Macmillan went on to chair his family’s publishing firm. Item #005403