Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Churchill Series - Mar. 31, 2009

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

In 1876 Lord Randolph Churchill was appointed Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, his father. Two year old Winston Churchill accompanied his parents to Dublin where the Churchills would live for the next for years. Young Churchill’s nurse, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Everest, accompanied him to Ireland.

We learn, courtesy of the Churchill Centre, a few things about Winnie, as family members often called him, from a letter of his mother's and his granddaughter's commentary.

A letter from his mother described life in Dublin with her young son: "Winston is flourishing tho rather X the last 2 days more teeth I think. Everest has been bothering me about some clothes for him saying that it was quite a disgrace how few things he had & how shabby at that."

Churchill's granddaughter, Celia Sandys, offers this portrait: "Winston had arrived in Dublin a month after his second birthday dressed, as was the fashion, like a girl. At that time children were dressed alike, making boys and girls indistinguishable one from the other, for the first few years of their lives."
Randolph and Jennie Churchill were neglectful parents; and their neglect of a son who loved them constituted more than harshness. It amounted to a cruelty.

I often wonder how Churchill would have turned our if Mrs. Everest hadn't been there from right after his birth until he was a young man. She was to him and his younger brother John (Jack) everything a loving parent should be.

Everest never married. The Mrs. before her name reflects the custom at the time to call nurses Mrs. even if they were unmarried.

Also, you may have seen her middle name spelled “Anne.” That’s how it’s usually spelled. But the Churchill Archives at Churchill College, Cambridge University give it as “Ann” so that’s what I use.


Anonymous said...

The speliing of Ann without the "e" was traditionally the Protestant version. The spelling of Anne with the "e" was the Catholic version. I do not think that this distinction is maintained today. (This is what I was told as a young girl).