During May, the Churchill War Rooms sees a range of activities for all the family, from code breaking to celebrating the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister, including:
1940: Britain’s Finest Hour
The momentous events that occurred during 1940 determined the eventual outcome of the Second World War. It was the year that saw the creation of the Ministry of Food and the instigation of rationing. Britain’s great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, came to power. Britain’s armed forces endured the fall of France, the evacuation of Dunkirk, and the Battle of Britain, while on the home front, the unrelenting bombing of the Blitz began to hit many cities and towns across the country.
All branches of the Imperial War Museum will commemorate the 70th anniversary of this crucial year with a range of special exhibitions, events and newly arranged exhibits from the Museum’s core collections. To bring everyone closer to the events of 1940, the Imperial War Museum has created a dedicated website with information on all of its anniversary activity, plus dynamic online content telling the full story of Britain’s finest hour.
Codes and Spies
1 May – 3 May
- This Bank Holiday visitors are invited to take part in Interactive activities decoding clues.
- On entry to the War Rooms, visitors will be invited to code breaking training before tracking down and decoding clues around the site.
- Will they be able to uncover the plot in time to save Churchill’s bunker?
- On Saturday 2 May, a Second World War Morse coding veteran will be on hand to support the training and explain the pivotal and pressured nature of his role.
Winston Churchill Anniversary
- May 10 celebrates the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister and sees the launch of a unique Churchill Deep Zoom – an innovative online gallery mosaic of hundreds of Churchill images, documents, information and surprises, that visitors can also access via the Museum website, launched in support of the anniversary.
Paint Like Churchill
Saturdays in May and Half-term – 8, 15, 22, 29 & 31 May to 4 June @ 10.30 – 16.30 in the Clore Learning Centre
- Sir Winston was a prodigious painter, producing more than 500 oils and exhibiting at London’s prestigious Royal Academy.
- This Half-term come and discover the man behind the iconic images with drop-in explorations and discussions of Winston Churchill’s important paintings.
- Try out your own art skills, from a basic level of ‘painting in’ Churchill’s favourite painting of Chartwell, to copying one of his pieces, using one of his varied styles on display and painting your own subject.
Undercover – Life in Churchill’s Bunker
- Extended due to popular demand – now on until end 2013
- Visitors will be able to learn from the first-hand personal accounts of those who worked in the Cabinet War Rooms during the war, what life and conditions were like, and experiencing the authenticity and emotional resonance of walking through the corridors where Churchill made history.
- Tickets: £14.95 adults; £12.00 seniors and students; £9.00 visitors with disabilities (Free Carer); children under 16 free, Special admission rates for groups of ten or more.
- Opening hours: 9.30am-6pm; last admission at 5pm
Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AQ
The Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms is a branch of the Imperial War Museum.
The Cabinet War Rooms were created in 1938, as the underground storage areas of the Office of Works Building in Whitehall were converted to house the central core of government and to become a military information centre, serving the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of Staff of the air, naval and land forces. Intended as a temporary site, the rooms became operational on 27 August 1939, a week before the German invasion of Poland and Britain’s declaration of war. This ‘temporary’ but timely measure served as the central shelter for government and military strategists for the next six years.