Although the best of Churchill’s biographers often delve into the great man’s financial ups and downs, as do his own writings, but it wasn’t until David Lough’s book, No More Champagne — Churchill and His Money, first published in 2015, came along do we get an almost day by day account of how Churchill earned and then spent his money; and then, when faced with a financial crisis, sharpened his pen and earned some more.
As David Lough writes in his introduction to No More Champagne:
“ This book owes its genesis to a provocative history teacher and to a scandalized grandmother. The first tried to stimulate independent thought in his fourteen-year-old pupils by describing Winston Churchill as a ‘romantic old windbag’; when I took his verdict home as my own, the second ordered my re-education by setting me to read each volume of Churchill’s official biography on it publication.”
My own history teacher, Mr Earnshaw, at Hugh Clopton Secondary School in Stratford (a veteran of WWII)was something of romantic old windbag whose readings from Churchill’s, Their Finest Hour, did stop us picking our noses and take notice.
And David Lough’s No More Champagne, is a detailed and beautifully written piece of work that not only gets to the nuts and bolts of Churchill’s failures and triumphs, but also allows us access to his cheque book stubs and bank statements and how, even when directing a war that could have seen, without his leadership, the demise of Britain and the rest of the free world, he, with the help of newspaper editors, managed to keep his writer’s voice in front of the reading public when Churchill returned to the Admiralty in 1939, as Lough writes:
“ The Churchills moved back into Admiralty House. They surrendered their Morpeth Mansions [apartment]lease and closed Chartwell for the duration of the war. One cottage was kept open for family visits, but all of the staff had to leave, except for Kathleen Hill and Grace Hamblin, who moved to London to handle the Churchill’s personal correspondence.”
To close Chartwell for an indefinite period was not an easy decision for Churchill who loved the place, although he was probably quite pleased to give up the expensive Morpeth Mansion apartment and live rent free over the shop so to…