Churchill War Rooms
Second year International Political Economy student, Tharshan, recently visited the Churchill War Rooms in Westminster.
London has a rich political history, dating back to when the Romans founded it in AD 43 to the present day where it houses the parliament and the government. Being a political student in London means that you also can partake in this rich culture of political history.
One way you can get involved in the political scene, is by visiting the various institutions that are open to the general public, one such institution is the Churchill War Rooms that form a part of the Imperial War Museum. The Churchill War Rooms are located in Westminster, within walking distance of Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, the political heartthrob of the United Kingdom.
The Churchill War Rooms house the Cabinet War Rooms, which is where the British government held their command centre during the Second World War. This is where the War Cabinet primarily stayed throughout the war, where meetings were held and, where the major decisions of the war effort were made. The War Rooms also house the Churchill Museum, which is dedicated to exploring the life of the man that was Winston Churchill. The Churchill Museum also happens to be the only modern part of the War Rooms.
Students can enter the rooms for under £15, complete with an audio tour.
The tour should take around 90 minutes to complete, but as it is taken at your leisurely pace you can take as long you want. Walking through the narrow corridors of the War Rooms give you a real sense of how hectic the wartime must have been. The rooms at the facility have been preserved in its original manner; so you are able see the famous meeting room where all the senior officers would have met. There’s also the famous map room where all the troop movements across the various theatres of the world war were mapped out.
During the tour you will also get a chance to see the living quarters of the senior officers, including Winston’s Churchill’s bedroom. Seeing how cramped and basic these rooms are, even for the likes of Churchill, will really give you a new perspective on how World War 2 truly affected every individual and how everyone needed to make sacrifices in order to help the Allied forces to eventually win the war.
The Churchill War Rooms also link to the first year of International Politics at City University London; there is a first year module called “Politics and Power in the 20th Century”. The first half of the module is strongly linked to the World Wars and about the period after. By visiting the War Rooms you will be able to get a true sense of how hard it was to live in the UK with the constant threat of bombing, and how even the Prime Minister had to make sacrifices. There is a selection of books available at the gift shop that will further enhance your knowledge. All in all, I’d highly recommend visiting the war rooms if you get the opportunity.