'Glimpses of a better world' - unpublished Churchill speech set for auction

An unpublished speech by Sir Winston Churchill is coming up for sale as part of the Roy Davids Collection of Papers and Portraits at Bonhams in London on March 29.

It is estimated at £5,000-6,000 and will undoubtedly excite investors in historical documents.

The typed, six-page speech printed on embossed Chartwell headed notepaper is dated September 1959 and signed by Sir Winston. It was intended to be used at his adoption meeting as parliamentary candidate for the Woodford constituency in Essex on November 29. In the event he delivered another, almost entirely different, speech which was more overtly anti-socialist in tone.

The undelivered speech contains some typical ringing Churchillian phrases: "Our crowded ... millions must earn their living the hard way by ingenuity, contrivance, enterprise and thrift... We have high opportunities to seize, and solemn duties to discharge...

"Peace can never be secured by sacrificing vital principles or interests...We can catch at any rate promising glimpses of that better world of which mankind has long dreamed and for which it has long toiled when science can unlock for all the people a vast storehouse of richer living. That is the vision which must inspire us with hope and stimulate us to new endeavours." 


A fine fellow - Churchill in 1912

Although the speech was sent for printing - the printer's instructions appear on the first page in pencil - no printed copies exist so it is likely to have been either pulled beforehand or pulped afterwards. The typescript was in the papers of Colonel William Barlow-Wheeler, Churchill's agent in Woodford.

Although Sir Winston tended to keep the manuscripts and typescripts of his speeches - one reason why so few of them appear at auction - it is likely that Barlow-Wheeler felt it legitimate to retain this one since it was never going to be delivered.

Churchill was the only person ever to be MP for Woodford. He represented the constituency uninterruptedly from 1945 when it was created until its abolition in 1964. He fought his last election in 1959.


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