To mark the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death, Wansteadium has been reading David A Thomasâ€™s book Churchill The Member for Woodford, and blogging about it.
Episode Six. As the nation was on the brink of war, Thomas reports a delicious slice of Wanstead life. Deans the builders, he writes, were offering “attractive houses newly built on the Deyncourt Garden estate with all roads made up and shrubland at Â£695, available for the low deposit of Â£35”. Meanwhile, as a contrast to that note of optimism, voices were growing in Mr Churchill’s constituency that he had gone too far in criticising the government’s handling of Germany’s overrunning of Czechoslovakia. There were moves towards a vote of censure which – Churchill said – would have made him resign his seat and fight a by-election. He faced down his critics, but there has been speculation about how different history might have been had he lost the constituency vote, resigned his seat and then not been in Parliament for the start of the war. In the end he praised his “intensely patriotic constituency”. He still alienated people though, and was taunted for being in a “party of one”. It didn’t seem to worry him. He said: “If my words had been listened to, we should not have been waiting anxiously for each fresh speech made by one of the dictators. We should not now be making holes for our women and children to get into.”
PS. Thank you to Wansteadium reader and former Redbridge Deputy Mayor Tom Howl, who read in Churchill and Wanstead Episode five about the mace that Churchill presented to the new borough of Wanstead and Woodford. He confirms it is still in ceremonial use by Redbridge.