One of the questions we frequently get asked, is where are Churchill’s diaries? Sadly, he never kept a personal diary, so we have to disappoint people on that one. However, there are a few appointment diaries, which are useful in themselves, as they tell you where he was supposed to be, and who he was supposed to be seeing, at various times. There aren’t many, even of these, though there are some personal ones from the early 1900s, and we do have a series of detailed engagement cards from the late 1930s onwards. We don’t know what happened to the diaries for the rest of his long public life, so were delighted (and very surprised), a short while ago, when we were given Churchill’s desk diary for 1918.
In 1918, Churchill was serving as the Minister for Munitions, after coming back with first hand experience from a spell on the Western Front. This diary was apparently taken as a souvenir at the end of the First World War by a lady who worked in Churchill’s office, and has been kept in her family ever since. As Churchill tended to consider official papers his own property, and frequently took them away with him himself, he was hardly in a position to object!
Our thanks, anyway, for the gift of this diary, which has been kept safe all these years, and can now be seen with the rest of Churchill’s papers at the Archives Centre.
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