Winston Churchill lived to the age of 90, and in those years he accomplished many things. Most of us will remember Winston Churchill, the politician, and he is certainly remembered for his contribution to the Second World War, but that is just one side of this great man’s story. His life and work are well documented, and too vast for a single blog post, so here are our top 10 interesting facts about Winston Churchill:
1. Winston Churchill was an accomplished artist
One of the more well-known facts; Winston Churchill was an accomplished artist. He was in his 40’s before he began painting, but would go on to become a prolific artist, creating more than 500 paintings over a 48 year period. You can see some of his works in the National Trust Collections.
2. The ‘Greatest’ Briton, the ‘British Bulldog’, was in fact half American
Winston Churchill was born to Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill. His father, Randolph Churchill, was a British politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, while his mother, Jennie Jerome, was an American socialite. Interestingly, he was also the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.
3. Winston Churchill received a Nobel Prize… for Literature
Winston Churchill was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for “his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”. He is the only British Prime Minister to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature since its inception in 1901.
4. He served in British Parliament under six monarchs
Winston Churchill’s time in Parliament came to an end on 6 April 1955. He served in the British Parliament for almost 55 years, having begun his political career at the 1900 general election as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Oldham. His political tenure spanned the reigns of: Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II.
5. Winston Churchill served as prime minister twice
Better known for his first stint in office, Winston Churchill was actually prime minister twice! First on 10 May 1940 to 26 July 1945, then again from 26 October 1951 to 6 April 1955.
6. The first known use of ‘OMG’ was in a letter to Winston Churchill
OMG, who’d have thought it? The first known use of the common abbreviation ‘OMG’ was in a letter from Lord Fisher to Winston Churchill on 9 September 1917. source
7. Winston Churchill is the only prime minister to enter the music charts
Winston Churchill has in fact entered the music charts twice! He first charted in 1965, shortly after his death, with ‘The Voice Of‘ – a collection of his most famous speeches. He then charted again, entering the album chart for a second time with a record marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain: ‘Reach For The Skies‘, by The Central Band of the Royal Air Force.
8. He had a speech impediment
Winston Churchill is best known for his speeches, of which there are many, and of which I’m sure you can recite a few. But a fact which may surprise you, as it did me, is that Winston Churchill had a speech impediment which meant he had difficulty pronouncing the letter ‘s’.
9. Winston Churchill was a prisoner of war
Winston Churchill is well known for his contribution to war, both the First World War and, in particular, the Second World War. A less known fact is that he was actually a prisoner of war, during the Boer War. In 1899, Churchill travelled to South Africa as a newspaper correspondent to cover the Boer War between British and Dutch Settlers. He was ambushed and captured by enemy soliders. He later made his great escape and returned a hero. find out more here
10. He is the only statesman to be honoured on two occasions on British coins
To be commemorated on a coin is an honour to which not many can put claim. Themes and designs for coins are carefully selected by committee and the commemorative theme must carry significant weight in order to be considered. It’s rare for a statesman to be commemorated on a coin and that honour was fitting for Winston Churchill upon his death in 1965. Such was Winston Churchill’s contribution and legacy that now, 50 years later, his memory will be honoured again on UK coins and he will become the only statesman to be honoured in such a way on two separate occasions.