Documents on Churchill receiving Freedom of Worcester found

Churchill
Churchill with his characteristic cigar in mouth Photo: PA

Historic documents which have remained undiscovered for more than 60 years revealing how Sir Winston Churchill came to accept the Freedom of the City of Worcester have been discovered.

A succession of Mayors took part in a five-year campaign to bring the war time Prime Minister to the city and bestow upon him its highest honour.

A number of invitation letters with Churchill’s replies which chart a series of unavoidable delays for his visit have been found during a spring clean at the city’s Guildhall. Finally, it was Alderman Thomas Stanley Bennett who eventually succeeded in bringing Churchill to Worcester on 20 May 1950 Just two days before his term as Mayor of Worcester came to an end.

His son John Bennett, who was just a young child at the time of the visit, has seen the rediscovered documents and has recalled the story of how Churchill's wife Lady Clementine stayed in their family home the night before the Freedom ceremony and was joined at the house by her husband the next morning.

On Central Tonight we speak to John and see his photo album from the time. We also speak to the City Council Historic Environment Record Officer Sheena Payne-Lunn about the discovery.