This month’s image from the archives shows a photograph of the Brooklyn birthplace of Churchill’s mother (at least we think so — she was extremely vague about her age, so we aren’t precisely sure).
This image shows a ceremony in 1952 to mark the unveiling by Sarah Churchill of a plaque on the (probable) birthplace of Churchill’s mother, Jennie Jerome, at 426 Henry Street in the Cobble Hill district of Brooklyn, New York. The beautiful, “panther-like” (and very expensive) Jennie was a great influence in her son’s life. Born in 1854 (Jennie was extremely vague about her actual birth date, hence the doubt about where she was born), the second daughter of the American financier Leonard Jerome, Jennie met Lord Randolph Churchill, second surviving son of the Duke of Marlborough, at a dance at Cowes in August 1873, and after a whirlwind courtship, they were married in the following April, with Winston arriving rather unexpectedly at the end of November 1874.
Jennie had done her best to support her husband’s political career, campaigning on his behalf in a stylish horse-drawn tandem, decorated with ribbons in Lord Randolph’s racing colours, around his Woodstock constituency, but following his dramatic resignation from the Cabinet after differences with his colleagues (throwing himself from the top of the ladder, which he would never reach again, as his secretary put it), and then his early death, she turned her attention to her son. Perhaps not the most engaged mother during Winston’s childhood (he described her as beautiful but distant, like the Evening Star), once he was grown up Jennie worked tirelessly on his behalf, ruthlessly lobbying all of her most useful friends to secure him advancement, first in the army, then as a war correspondent, and finally as a young MP.