Best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford visited the Churchill Archives Centre today to view the writings that inspired her own career and to donate the treasured letter she received from Clementine Churchill as a child.
Novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE, has written 31 books and sold nearly 90 million novels. But among the author’s most precious pieces of writing is a letter from Clementine Churchill during World War Two.
In 1943, Barbara was a child growing up in Yorkshire when she helped raise the princely sum of £2 for the Red Cross Aid to Russia fund through a jumble sale. In return, to her amazement, she received a personal letter of thanks from Clementine, wife of Britain’s inspirational wartime Prime Minister.
Dated April 1943, and on 10 Downing Street headed paper, the PM’s wife wrote in the now yellowing two-page letter:
“I am most grateful to you for the trouble you have taken to help the heroic Russians in their terrible but heroic struggle against the wicked invaders of their country.”
While Sir Winston’s own writings remain world-famous, his wife’s literary endeavours are less well known.
However, as Barbara Taylor Bradford’s letter reveals, Lady Churchill clearly played a key role marshalling support and boosting morale on the Home Front – in this case bolstering the spirits of a nine-year-old girl.
“When I was growing up in Yorkshire during World War II, I wanted to do something to help the war effort. Encouraged by my parents, Winston and Freda Taylor, I held a jumble sale in my mother’s garden.
Small kitchen and household items, given to me by my mother, grandmother and aunts went on sale. At the end of the afternoon, everything had been sold for a few pennies each, but everyone was well pleased. Can you imagine the lovely surprise for this little girl to get a personalised reply from the wife of the iconic Winston Churchill?”
The best-selling author visited the Churchill Archives Centre today to see the original drafts of some of Sir Winston’s most famous speeches, books and journalism and pass on her own humble bequest to the remarkable archive – her treasured letter from Lady Churchill.
Speaking about her gift, Barbara Bradford Taylor said:
I’ve recently gifted it to Churchill College in Cambridge because I believe this is its rightful home. I have treasured that letter. However, I wanted to ensure that this piece of history can be enjoyed by many more than those who visit my home.”
The formal presentation will take place during her visit tofay, in the presence of Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Sir Winston, and Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre.
Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre, said:
“Barbara certainly understands the power of words, and has already helped the Churchill Archives Centre display some of its treasures in her adopted home city of New York.
It will be a pleasure and an honour to show her some more of his writings, including his one and only attempt at a novel.”
As a wartime child, Barbara Taylor Bradford has never forgotten the power of Sir Winston’s rhetoric. booming through the speakers of family radios across the nation. The famous Churchill broadcasts form the backdrop to the plot of her latest novel The Cavendon Luck, the latest in the best-selling Cavendon saga, published by HarperCollins on 16 June 2016.
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