Churchill’s funeral procession recreated 50 years on

Processional route of Churchill's funeral
Processional route of Churchill's funeral

Today a remarkable reenactment of the funeral route that took the body of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill along the Thames from the Tower of London to Westminster will be recreated to mark the 50th anniversary of the day that brought the country to a standstill.

Original processional route of Churchill’s funeral, which is on show at Chartwell. Credit: National Trust images

To mark the 50th anniversary of the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, at 12.45pm today, the Havengore, the boat that transported his body along the Thames 50 years ago will set off from Tower Hill with some of his family members on board, arriving in Westminster where a wreath will be laid in honour of him.

In addition, a remembrance service is being held at the Houses of Parliament this morning, while Westminster Abbey will host a service in honour of Churchill at 6pm.

Starting at 9.15am, BBC Parliament will broadcast the BBC’s original coverage of Churchill’s funeral until 1.45pm, to mirror the timings of 30 January 1965.

Sir Winston Churchill died in his London home at Hyde Park Gate on 24 January 1965, aged 90. His funeral was held six days later on 30 January and was watched live on TV by millions of people around the world.

The commemorative events today are part of a series of events taking place this year in tribute to the wartime prime minister, 50 years since his death and 75 years since he took over as PM while Britain was in the throes of the Second World War.

Flag that flew over Washington on Churchill’s death. Credit: Chartwell/National Trust

As part of the 2015 commemorations, the Death of a Hero exhibition held at his beloved home of Chartwell, in Kent, will display family mementoes and commemorative gifts, many of which have never gone on public display before, including the flag that flew over Washington when his death was announced.

Katherine Barnett, Chartwell’s house and collections manager, said: “Curating this exhibition has been very moving for all involved at Chartwell. Churchill still has such a strong presence in the house and it’s been a challenge to select just 66 objects to show the legacy of a life of such significance.”

Visitors to the Death of a Hero exhibition will also be able to watch footage of the funeral at selected times.

Death of a Hero runs in Chartwell’s exhibition room until 1 November 2015 (the main house reopens from 28 February).

For our full commemorative feature on Winston Churchill see the March/April 2015 issue of BRITAIN on sale in the UK on 6 Feb (or the May 2015 issue, on sale in the US on 13 March).

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The Churchill Bar & Terrace
20th century British Prime Ministers
Photos of the week: Churchill remembered

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