Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun. 5, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

On October 28, 1943 Churchill spoke in the House of Lords. But he didn’t address the Lords. He was speaking to Members of the House of Commons.

How did that happen?

The House of Commons was bombed and badly damaged during the Blitz. So it was arranged that the Commons would meet in the Lords.

Meanwhile, plans were afoot to restore the Commons once the war was over. And that’s what Churchill spoke about to the Commons in the Lords that October day in 1943:

"On the night of May 10, 1941, with one of the last bombs of the last serious raid, our House of Commons was destroyed by the violence of the enemy, and we have now to consider whether we should build it up again, and how, and when. We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us. Having dwelt and served for more than forty years in the late Chamber, and having derived very great pleasure and advantage therefrom, I, naturally, should like to see it restored in all essentials to its old form, convenience and dignity."
The matter of how the Commons would be restored provoked considerable dispute. There were some who thought, for instance, that it should be enlarged and that there should be a desk in the chamber for every member.

Churchill wanted none of that. In tomorrow’s post, we learn how it all turned out.

Hint: Churchill was very pleased with the final result.