No cigar?

15th July 2013 in Archives Centre, Our Collections

Finally, in the Archives Centre's 40th year, a small but significant gap in our holdings has been plugged: we have one of Churchill's cigars!

A cigar belonging to Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill's cigar, courtesy of Mr Paul Keane. Reference: WCHL 6/75.

This iconic gift has come to us thanks to Mr Paul Keane, one of Churchill's many American fans. In 1961, when Mr Keane was just 16, he waited for more than 24 hours in the rain on a New York pier for a chance to see his hero disembark from Aristotle Onassis's yacht Christina. His patience was rewarded at last, not only with a sight of Churchill, but also with the gift of matches from the Christina, one of Churchill's handkerchiefs, and last but not least, the famous cigar. Now Mr Keane has sent the cigar, together with a scrapbook full of memorabilia of his adventure, to the Archives Centre, and our conservator is making a special display box for it, so that future visitors will be able to see this fragile, but very precious piece of Churchill history. Mr Keane has written about his adventures, at churchillandboy.blogspot and churchillscrapbook.blogspot.

—Katharine Thomson

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