Winston's Private Rooms

Phil Reed, the Director of the Cabinet War Rooms, explains the significance of the new suite of rooms being opened to the public on April 8th.

In his excellent study Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership, Andrew Roberts omits one small aspect of similarity between Hitler and Churchill: their propensity, at least in Hitler's final weeks, for working into the wee small hours. For Hitler, a  regular 3am end of day was usually followed by a lie-in until 10 or 11am. In Churchill's case, a post-midnight finish (sustained by a regular afternoon nap) was routinely followed by an 8.30am wake-up and working from bed for a few hours.

If Roberts's book demonstrates nothing else, it flags up our obsession with the minutiae of the lives of great figures. We have not lost the taste for the large scale of historical development, nor even for the study of how the individual trooper managed to survive. But we have moved on. We want to see great men in their underwear, at their most frail, as human beings.

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