For the generalist absorbed in the past. You’ve gotta see this, JollyGens!
I recently traveled to London, England for the first time and was blown away by the scale of the city. Between the art, history, architecture, and culture, I didn’t know where to look first. Thankfully I had a few friends to help point me in the right direction. One spot that continued to come up in conversation was the Churchill War Rooms. Not knowing too much about Churchill but always fascinated by the World Wars, this museum seemed right up my alley. And it did not disappoint.
The Churchill War Rooms is a museum in London connected with the Imperial War Museum. This museum provides a history of Winston Churchill’s life from birth in 1874 to death in 1965 in the Churchill Museum, before taking you through the bunker Cabinet War Rooms that operated from 1939-1945. Abandoned following the surrender of Japan in 1945, the rooms weren’t opened to the public until 1984 when they were restored for general public viewing.
Before even beginning our guided tour we entered the war rooms from the street level. Heading down a couple flights to the ticket booth, you could sense the level of privacy and security that protected the rooms over seven decades ago. Putting on our headsets, we embarked on our tour and a history lesson that would keep us occupied for the next three hours. Taking in all the details, it was easy to get wrapped up in the past. So wrapped up that we lost track of time and had to start skimming through the details of Churchill’s eventful life.
Moving from the Churchill Museum to the Cabinet War Rooms, the weight of the information pressed down on us like it was the weight of the city above. The remarkably untouched rooms bearing the same look and feel as they did during World War II. Flowing through the tunnels from one room to the next we were overcome by the unbelievable realization that this was someone’s reality at one point in recent history. The act of walking along the same corridors those people did so many years ago, you truly could feel the reality set in.
Once the tour ended, we walked to a local wine bar and took some time to decompress. Packed full of new information, we began to hash out the details and both left feeling like we wanted to learn more.
I would definitely recommend this museum to anyone interested in learning more about Churchill and his influence on the world, as well as anyone wanting to learn more about British history during the Second World War. Go with plenty of time to spare and a readiness to absorb as much information as possible.