In a poll run by the BBC in 2002, the British public voted Winston Churchill number 1 in a list of “100 Greatest Britons”. No Black people featured in the list. Everybody knows that Churchill led the country to victory against Hitler in WW2, but Churchill scholars are the first to admit that he is a controversial and complex figure. Popular history struggles with such nuance.
As awareness of his racist language, association with eugenics and accusations of corruption and neglect (particularly in relation to the Bengal famine which killed three million people) has grown, many, especially young, British people are demanding that the role he presently occupies in the national imagination be revised – or erased entirely. Like it or not, Churchill is an enduringly significant symbolic figure. The question is: what does he symbolise now?
Following on from the Future of History File published by Tortoise in August, please do join us to explore how, and whether, we can begin to reframe our relationship with Churchill’s legacy.
Editor: James Harding, Editor and Co-founder, Tortoise
Doors open at 6.20pm for a welcome and briefing. Come early to get settled, meet the team and chat to other members. ThinkIn starts at 6.30pm.