British Sky Tours

                  

 

 

 

 

***  CHURCHILL COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE ***

 

 

Churchill College is home to the archives of Sir Winston Churchill. These are housed in the specially designed building shown above. The oak tree and a mulberry were planted by Sir Winston Churchill before the college foundations were started. More recently the college became home for the archives of Baroness Thatcher and the Thatcher Foundation assisted the college with enlarging the building so that it could house both archives.

The Churchill Archives contain no less than 570 collections of papers that span the whole Churchill Era, some from his political allies, some from his rivals, others from sailors to scientists. Many are from people no longer well known; but who in their own time made a significant personal contribution to the freedom we enjoy today.

 

Winston Churchill is widely regarded as the greatest Englishman. He was a descendant of the original Winston Churchill, a Dorset squire at the time of England's Civil War whose son John Churchill, became England's greatest general and Duke of Marlborough.

Winston Churchill started life as a soldier in places once more making the news - he served on the North West Frontier of India and in the Sudan took part in the last cavalry charge of the British Army - and became a journalist while still serving on active duty which did not please the generals, particularly the Sudan expedition commander, Kitchener. After his escape from the Boers in South Africa he went into politics. Churchill was a man of many parts - historian and biographer, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, an accomplished painter in oils, a statesman and great war leader. He was a polo-player for many years and rode to hounds in his seventies. He even became a skilled brick layer and built an impressive garden wall at Chartwell, his home in Kent and in later life went in for race horse training with his son, Randolph. His career as a politician divides into three distinct phases. Originally a Conservative he crossed the floor and became a Liberal, enjoyed a brilliant career in Asquith's reforming Liberal Government until the failure of the Dardanelles campaign in 1915 whereupon he resigned as First Sea Lord and commanded a battalion on the Western Front. Politics drew him back and he returned as Minister of Munitions only to eventually return to the Conservative benches. As he put it at the time, it is all right to rat, but you can't re-rat.

Churchill's second phase as a Minister again saw him holding high office but politics are fickle and during the 1930s he fell into the political wilderness. At this time he wrote his finest work - the biography of his great ancestor, Marlborough. He also feared the rise of Hitler and well informed by a secret network including officials, warned Parliament and the nation of the gathering storm. When war came in September 1939 he became First Lord of the Admiralty - as he had been in August 1914. When the Blitzkrieg began in Holland, Belgium and France on the 10 May 1940 he became Prime Minister, commencing the third and most illustrious phase of his political life.  

His mother was American. Churchill described the wartime friendship between President Roosevelt and himself as ' This special relationship ' and set the benchmark for Anglo-American relations. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy presented him in 1963 with his passport as an Honorary Citizen of the United States. As he conferred honorary American citizenship upon him, President Kennedy said: "In the dark days and darker nights when England stood alone--and most men save Englishmen despaired of England's life--he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."

During his political life Winston Churchill held most of the great offices of state, serving twice as Prime Minister, retiring from office in 1954 at the age of 80 years. Her Majesty the Queen, then 28 years old, came to 10 Downing Street for his 80th birthday dinner.

Throughout his long life Sir Winston Churchill was fascinated by science and technology. He was the driving force behind many remarkable inventions - the tank to name only one - and during two World Wars often drove his naval, military and air staffs to distraction by pursuing ideas they regarded as expensive diversions. Britain's airborne forces exist because of one of his many directives. Ideas such as the Mulberry Harbours for D Day would never have succeeded without the support of his restless, inquisitive spirit.

 

 

Baroness Margaret Thatcher was Britain's first female Prime Minister and only Lord Liverpool served a longer continuous term in office. She was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, birth place of Sir Isaac Newton. Her father was a respected local businessman and Alderman and a Methodist lay-preacher. She learnt her renowned standards of honesty and integrity from her parents. After graduating from Oxford she became a research chemist and was a member of the team that developed soft frozen ice-cream. She remains the most well educated of all Prime Ministers with degrees in both Chemistry and Law.

Margaret Thatcher laid the foundations of Britain's modern economy and stood up for personal freedom though not without responsibility towards others. Her staunch friendship with the United States through difficult times and her robust diplomacy helped to bring about the end of the Cold War and thereby removed from future generations the dark shadow of nuclear warfare. President Ronald Reagan presented her with the Medal of Freedom. Showing admirable courage after she survived an attempt on her life by the IRA when a bomb exploded during the small hours at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, she opened the Conservative Party Conference on time that morning. She defended the rights of ordinary citizens resolutely and against all odds when a large Royal Navy task force sailed 8000 miles south and liberated the Falkland Islanders.

She won three General Elections in a row, one with a convincing majority and two with landslide victories. She never lost an election. Yet as a Prime Minister who kept her finger on the pulse of every department, she was never too busy to talk with young people. Before going to the House of Commons invariably she would walk across Downing Street and talk with the school children waiting to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister on her way to Parliament.

**********************

The Churchill Archives

These are accessible to anyone by appointment. For more information please have a look at the website - http://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/archives/ - which also explains in detail how the archives are arranged. 

Many beautiful trees and shrubs grow on the large campus.

Churchill College

Towards the end of his life Winston Churchill gave much thought to the future of these small islands. In his view, no longer able to draw on the natural wealth of a great empire, we would depend more and more on our brains and imagination. Never slow to take action, he decided to found a college bearing his name at Cambridge, one that would concentrate on teaching the sciences and today seventy per cent of the students at Churchill College are reading sciences. The college has seven Nobel Laureates - the first Master, Sir John Cockcroft won the Nobel Prize for splitting the atom. Francis Crick jointly with the American, James Watson, discovered DNA - later Crick became so incensed that a science college was building a chapel that he resigned his Fellowship and donated ten guineas to start a fund for a college brothel. The small brick chapel is visible in the photo below standing at the very top of the college lawns; there is no sign of any disreputable rival building.

The Chapel stands beyond the distant goal posts and before the trees along the skyline. At the right is the attractively designed Moller Centre.

The college has purpose built facilities for conferences as well as education and these are available for hire by outside organisations and businesses..

The Music Centre

The college website - http://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/  - has plenty of information for potential students. When considering Cambridge parents of overseas students might wish to keep in mind that although UK tuition fees are paid in pounds sterling the cost of living at a Cambridge college is much lower than anywhere else in Britain save Oxford and compares very favourably with living costs in North America. Most colleges have enough accommodation within the college for a significant proportion of their students, some like Newnham for all their students, and the colleges own property around the town. This makes a huge difference to the overall cost of a degree course.

If you are interested in becoming a student at the college, or indeed interested in supporting the college, the college would be delighted to hear from you and the website explains how to get in touch with the appropriate department.  

*******************

If you enjoy international affairs, diplomacy and defence, when you have read about the University, have a look at our new pages ranging over topical matters - from banks in London and Zurich to Swat in Pakistan.

World News, British News, Our Guides' Books

 

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

Punts tied up for the winter beside the bridge with Queen's College in the background and Trinity College Chapel with the Senate House beyond.

Cambridge is one of the World's oldest universities. Around 1280 a group of scholar monks decided to leave the century old university at Oxford - where there was growing tension between the town and the religious houses of learning - and move to the fenland port of Cambridge. From this small beginning grew the present university. Only Harvard is above Cambridge on the international league table and affiliates of the University have won 82 Nobel Prizes, more than any single country.

There are about 15000 students including graduate students. All students belong to a college - the oldest is Peterhouse founded in 1287 - and the University consists of thirty-one colleges, three for women. The largest college is Trinity with over 1000 students, but most have about 450 students. Although students learn at the faculty for their degree, many aspects of student life revolve around the college and students dine regularly at each others' colleges.  

The University grew in distinct phases. First came the early Medieval colleges. These were joined by new colleges founded during the renaissance such as Trinity and Queens colleges. Erasmus still has a tower named after him at Queens and Sir Isaac Newton is probably Trinity's greatest scholar. Byron kept a bear in his rooms - because dogs were not allowed by the college authorities! Another phase of expansion took place during Georgian times and a further expansion after the Second World War.   

Saint Bennett's church tower is 1000 years old. The small holes above its upper windows allow owls into the church to hunt for mice. At the nearby Eagle Inn, during the war American and British aircrew had a tradition of writing their autographs on the bar ceiling - with smoking candles. The Eagle was where Francis Crick with James Watson made their famous announcement about discovering the secret of life.

 

The Granta Pub only a short walk from the beautiful gardens of Sir Edward Lutyens' charming Christopher Wren design for Newnham College for ladies.

 

Two young people defy the cold wind and enjoy the November sunshine.

***************

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford only a few miles from Cambridge has one of the finest collections of aircraft in the World.

The American Cemetery at Madingley just outside Cambridge and not far from Churchill College.

*********************

HAVE A LOOK AT THE LINKS BELOW

 

WHY NOT ENJOY OUR COMBINED TOURS - A DAY IN CAMBRIDGE TO VISIT THE CHURCHILL ARCHIVES, MADINGLEY AND DUXFORD,

COMBINED WITH A SKY TOUR TO NORMANDY WITH A DAY SEEING THE D DAY LANDING GROUNDS AND ASSAULT BEACHES

 ABOUT OUR NORMANDY SKY TOURS

PLUS OUR VIRTUAL D DAY TOUR HAS LOTS OF PHOTOS OF THE LEGENDARY SITES TODAY

                                                 THEIR FINEST HOUR        TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH         OUR SKY GUIDES          STOP PRESS          OUR TOURS PAGE 

 

                                THOSE INTERESTED IN MODERN DIPLOMACY AND BRITISH DEFENCE STRATEGY MAY ENJOY THE LATEST ARTICLES AT WORLD NEWS AND BOOKS

                                                              ALSO THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP AND OTHER BRIEFING MATERIAL FOR NORMANDY TOURS

                                                                                                                                                         *

NEW - SPECIAL OFFER - PRIVATE TOURS FOR SWISS

The soaring Swiss franc makes tours of Britain an absolute bargain at the moment. Yet friends from Bern return disappointed with their hotels and tours where obvious places are left out by the tour organiser. Rather like visiting Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower but leaving out Notre Dame.

Adrian has been married to Swiss for 35 years and both his children are British and Swiss. Not only does he speak Schweizerdeutsch and French but understands what Swiss expect when on holiday. There is no need to pay high rates for the so-called best hotels when you can be much more comfortable and eat better food at those smaller family hotels that thrive because of reputations passed around by word of mouth. Why not benefit from our years of experience and knowledge from taking overseas visitors on private road tours all over the British Isles.

If you are Swiss and would like us to organise a tour of the UK by road, just email through the link on our home page.