The Churchill War Rooms are located close to Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament at Clive Steps in King Charles Street, just ten feet below ground level, much shallower than you would think to be safe in wartime conditions, this is where Winston Churchill and his War Cabinet would meet to plan the defence of the nation during World War II. While walking through the rooms, which cover an area of three acres, the sounds of distant falling bombs and air raid sirens, add to the visitor experience of what it must have been like during the dark days of the war.
Churchill War Rooms
Immediately adjacent to the Map Room is the room Churchill used as an office come bedroom. From his desk, Churchill made four of his historic wartime speeches. Although basic, Churchill’s room was comparatively comfortable compared with the rest of the accommodation in the complex, there is even one of his famous cigars on the table by the bed.
In the War Cabinet Room, one can only imagine the important issues that were discussed and the decisions made while sat around that table. The chair, in which Churchill sat, is still in position at the head of the table. As you make your way through the warren of rooms you will come across the Transatlantic Telephone Room where Churchill and President Roosevelt must have talked on numerous occasions. Everyday practical needs were also taken care of with the presence of a kitchen.
Between 1939 and 1945 what is now the Churchill War Rooms served as the nerve centre of the war effort. The central hub of the entire effort was the Map Room and everything has been kept as it was with the maps still covering the walls, the colour coded telephones, even an envelope that belonged to john Heagarty that contained sugar cubes which of course were rationed at the time.
Also included in this complex of underground rooms is the Churchill Museum. On show are many of the great man’s personal items such as clothes and other effects, extracts of some his most famous speeches are played, there is even the original door from number 10 Downing Street that Churchill passed through on becoming Prime Minister. The museum covers the whole of Churchill’s life, not just the war years, so the opportunity is there to learn more about Churchill the man not just Churchill the leader during time of war. Technology is used which permits the visitor to investigate photos, film clips, and assorted documents.