Churchill 2015 lecture series

Sir Winston Churchill carried by students

Image courtesy of Special Collections (DM250/7)

2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. The University of Bristol will commemorate Churchill’s life, work and achievements through a series of lectures and exhibitions exploring his life and legacy and will present new research and unique insights into his time as Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1929 – 1965 and spanning the Second World War.

Churchill-related activity will take place around the world to commemorate his achievements, to highlight his vibrant existing legacy, to promote a range of educational opportunities and to bring his life and work to new audiences.

Churchill 2015 follows three main themes: Commemoration, to mark this important anniversary appropriately; Education, to engage and inspire future generations; and Legacy, to highlight, develop and enhance the existing work of Churchill organisations in delivering programmes focusing on leadership, debate and public speaking.

All events in this series are free of charge and take place in the Wills Memorial Building, University of Bristol, Queens Road, Bristol.

All places must be booked via the booking links for each lecture.

If you require additional support for any of the lectures, e.g. wheelchair access or sign language interpretation, please contact Emma Henry at the earliest opportunity and we will endeavour to meet your request.


Churchill: For and against Cartoon of Sir Winston Churchill

Dr Paul Addison

4 Mar

6 - 7.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building
Winston Churchill was a highly controversial figure in his lifetime and even today, half a century after his death, his critics and admirers remain sharply divided over his merits. Some view him as an accident-prone adventurer and opportunist while others praise him as a prophet and far-sighted statesman. Some regard his war leadership in the Second World War as a triumphant success while others attack the 'Churchill Myth'. Dr Paul Addison will discuss the reasons why Churchill continues to generate debate and offers a personal assessment of his achievements and failures.

Dr Paul Addison is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh, where he taught history from 1967 and was Director of the Centre for Second World War Studies from 1996 to 2005. He was a research assistant to Randolph S Churchill on the official biography of Winston Churchill and is a former Visiting Fellow of All Souls College Oxford. He is the author of Churchill on the Home Front 1900-1955 (1992) and Churchill: the Unexpected Hero (2005).

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A different sort of Chancellor? Winston Churchill and the University of Bristol Sir Winston Churchill outside the Wills Memorial Building

Professor Sir David Cannadine

18 Mar

6 - 7.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building
We are delighted to welcome eminent historian and chairman of the Churchill 2015 commemorations, Professor Sir David Cannadine to the University who will explore Churchill's unique relationship with Bristol, of which he was Chancellor from 1929 until his death in 1965. The talk is based on completely fresh research into this relationship, conducted especially for the 2015 commemorations.  

Throughout his long life, Winston Churchill's attitude to higher education was complex. He had never been to university himself, and part of him always regretted this, even as another part of him was always wary of intellectuals and academics. Yet in the years of his greatness and fame, he made many influential speeches at universities and colleges in Western Europe and North America, and for much of his life, he was Chancellor of a great British university, namely Bristol. In this lecture, Professor Sir David Cannadine will explore Churchill's attitudes to higher education in general, and his particular - and unique - relationship with Bristol.

Sir David Cannadine FBA is Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University. He is the author of fourteen books, including The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, Class in Britain, Ornamentalism, Mellon, and The Undivided Past, and has just completed a biography of King George V. Sir David is a Trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, the Royal Academy, the Library of Birmingham, the Rothschild Archive, the Gladstone Library and the Gordon Brown Archive. He is also the Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vice Chair of the Westminster Abbey Fabric Commission and the Editorial Board of Past and Present, a Vice President of the Victorian Society, and a member of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee and the Editorial Board of the History.

Image credit 'Special Collections, University of Bristol, DM254/31

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Churchill: Memories of my grandfather Sir Winston Churchill and his granddaughter, Celia Sandys

Celia Sandys

21 Apr

6 - 7.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building
Celia Sandys is an internationally recognised author, speaker and television presenter on the subject of her grandfather, Sir Winston Churchill and one of the few people who personally knew him.

Daughter of Sir Winston Churchill’s eldest child, Diana and Cabinet Minister Duncan Sandy, Celia will journey through her personal memories of Churchill as a family man including holidaying with him in the Mediterranean and growing up at Chartwell and Chequers.

Celia has published five books on various aspects of Winston Churchill’s life. These combine intensive historical research with personal anecdotes recalled from the time she spent with him in England and abroad.

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Churchill: The history man Sir Winston Churchill sitting at his desk

Professor David Reynolds

29 Apr

6 - 7.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building
Winston Churchill, though renowned as a politician and war leader, earned his living as a writer and eventually won the Nobel Prize for Literature. In this talk Professor David Reynolds will reflect on Churchill’s historical writings, especially his memoirs of the two world wars, and also consider how a vision of history and of Britain’s place in it was central to Churchill’s whole worldview as a statesman.

Professor David Reynolds is Professor of International History and Chairman of the History Faculty at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of ten books, including In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (2004), which won the Wolfson History Prize, and recently The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century (2014), awarded the Hessell-Tiltman Prize. He has also written and presented a dozen historical documentaries for BBC television including Churchill’s Forgotten Years (BBC4, 2005) and the ‘Long Shadow’ trilogy (BBC2, 2014).

Image credit 'Imperial War Museum'

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