Churchill War Rooms, London Overview

A historical underground war room used during World War II, The Churchill Museum is a treasury of the life and legacy of the former Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill. A writer, statesman, war veteran, and writer, Churchill successfully led Britain to victory during World War II when he was serving as the Prime Minister. Churchill War rooms were the hideout place throughout the time of the war. The place is the only one in the world dedicated truly and only to him and his contributions during World War II.

A famous London museum and one of the sections of the Imperial War Museum, the Churchill War Room was the place during World War II which served as the command centre for the British Government, led by Winston Churchill, and served as a hideout and strategy place during the time till 1945 when Japan surrendered.

Located behind the Whitehall area, the construction of this room got done a week before Britain started the war against Germany on 27 August 1939. With historical rarities and heirlooms on display to being transported back to the tense days of the War through audio guides which is available in 8 languages, this museum is a piece of art, brought forth with the latest in technology and multimedia to give its viewers a world class experience.

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Churchill War Rooms

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Timings

1 September - 30 June

Timings 9.30 AM - 6 PM
Last Admission 5:00 PM


1 July - 31 August

Timings 9.30 AM - 7 PM
Last Admission 5.45 PM


Closing Days: 24 – 26 December

Ticket Price

Age Fee
16-59 years GBP 22.00
5-15 years GBP 11.00
Senior citizens (60+), students, disabled GBP 17.60
Family- 1 adult & 3 children GBP 40.00
Family- 2 adult & 6 children GBP 56.00

History

The Churchill War Room, which became part of the Imperial War Museum in the 1980s, was opened to the public in 1984. It later got re-constructed and was opened again in 2005, back when it was known as the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. It got the title of Churchill War Rooms in 2010.

The place was recognised and accorded the status it has today post the war ended, and came under the purview of first the Ministry of Works, and later under the Department of Environment.

Since the time the War Rooms came into existence, they were constantly being used for meetings and were guarded at every hour of the day by either the Royal Navy officers, the British Army, and even the Royal Air Force. They were also used as dormitories for the staff, private accommodation for the ministers and military, room for important work, for telephone operators, etc.

During Neville Chamberlain’s reign as the Prime Minister, there was only one meeting held in the Cabinet Room. Post that, upon Churchill’s appointment as the Prime Minister, a number of important meetings were held at the place. As per historical records, there were 115 meetings held, the last being on 28 March 1945. Churchill had said about these rooms that, “This is the room from which I will direct the war”, and so he did.

Initially, the place wasn’t bomb-proof and would have crumpled to nothing with one attack. It was later that the security of the Cabinet War Rooms was increased during the Blitz, the bombings against Britain. A 5 feet thick concrete layer was installed for this purpose, and later they kept extending the width to increase protection. By 1941, the size of the slab was almost 3 times of what it was when it started.

During the war, Churchill also used one of the Cabinet Rooms as his office cum bedroom. It was during that time that he made 4 broadcasts from that room. Even though he had a place allocated there to sleep, he would hardly sleep there. Goes without saying, the atmosphere during that time would have been tense and mentally impacting for everyone, and that can be one of the reasons why Churchill never preferred sleeping underground. The place did not have a proper drainage system, which was also a problem for him, as he was in the habit of bathing twice in a day.

One of the most revered attractions of the place is the Date Table, which exhibits the 90 years of Winston Churchill’s life with documents and photographs as well to support it. The place also has a number of medals and honours conferred to war veterans, along with Churchill’s Nobel Prize, a silver-plated trophy in the shape of a book, which he got in 1953 for his contribution to Literature.

Tips

  • In order to fully soak in the magnanimity of the place, one can do their research before hand to understand the history of the place.
  • While the Imperial War Museum houses exhibits from throughout Britain’s history, including the Holocaust and World War I, the Churchill War Rooms will have people immersing in the specific history of World War II, including Winston Churchill’s bunker to the advanced technology used in those days.
  • So, make sure to brush up your facts, take a tour guide or listen to the audio guide for a better understanding of the place and its events.

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