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Cambridge academic continues to document the life of Sir Winston Churchill




Dr Christopher Catherwood at Churchill College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Christopher Catherwood at Churchill College. Picture: Keith Heppell

Dr Christopher Catherwood is the author of various books on the former PM, including Churchill: The Greatest Briton in Words, Pictures and Rare Documents – a new edition of which was published in December.

Dr Christopher Catherwood at Churchill College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Christopher Catherwood at Churchill College. Picture: Keith Heppell

He is also about to start work on a massive Churchill encyclopedia at the behest of US publisher Rowman & Littlefield.

Reading history as an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford, Dr Catherwood’s investigation into British appeasement in the 1930s confirmed his interest in Churchill and his life.

“I was at his lying-in-state in 1965 as a nearly 10-year-old,” he recalls. “My maternal grandmother’s family knew Lloyd George, through common Welsh backgrounds.”

His Cambridge MLitt was on Churchill’s Balkan policy 1940-1941 (now a book) and, along with science writer Graham Farmelo, Dr Catherwood has been elected twice to archives by-fellowships at Churchill College.

Dr Christopher Catherwood at Churchill College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Christopher Catherwood at Churchill College. Picture: Keith Heppell

“I work two to three days a week at least at the Churchill Archives Centre,” he says. “I have been a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellow since 2010 and they have supported my work and research ever since.”

Speaking from Churchill College, Dr Catherwood told the Cambridge Independent about the new edition of Churchill: The Greatest Briton in Words, Pictures and Rare Documents, a Churchill Heritage book – which means it has the approval of the family:

“It gives you the same fantastic photographs of Churchill’s life, without having to pay quite so much for slipcase volume.

“It’s a more accessible book and thankfully costs less because the original price of the book was quite expensive.”

Dr Catherwood continues: “I presume they brought it out in time for the film [Darkest Hour] but I didn’t actually know that the new edition was coming out.

“Most of the photographs in the book are ones that you wouldn’t have seen because we had to take out-of-copyright photos. Thankfully, there are various treasure troves in Fleet Street and other places and we were able to use those.”

The book is now available to buy at Heffers (£16) and Dr Catherwood says the shop always does a fantastic job in promoting books by local authors.

On his Churchill encyclopedia, he said: “It’s something that came out of the blue. I’ve worked with Rowman & Littlefield before on academic books on different subjects, and I got a letter asking: ‘Would you be interested in doing an encyclopedia of the whole of Churchill’s life?’

“So I’m working on it now and will be finishing it hopefully by the end of the year – and it should come out in 2019.”

Dr Catherwood added: “It’s very exciting because all the resources are in the Churchill Archive, which is fabulous.”

Churchill: The Greatest Briton in Words, Pictures and Rare Documents is out now.



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