Stepping Back in Time to 1945.
I was thinking earlier today about some of the really memorable experiences I’ve had during my travels over the years. One came about because my small advertising agency in Honolulu was a member of ICOM, an affiliation of some 80 independent agencies in some 60 countries around the world.
One of our ICOM meetings was in London and the head of the affiliated agency there arranged for our group to have private guided tour of Winston Churchill’s War Rooms, located in the basement of one of the government buildings in London. It was here that Winston Churchill and his staff directed the British war effort against the Nazis during World War Two.
The first thing you notice are the huge steel reinforcing beams that were added to protect Churchill and the military staff working there. Early in the war, of course, London was being mercilessly bombed on an almost nightly basis.
For me, and I suppose for almost anyone of my vintage, it was almost a religious experience to see these spare, utilitarian rooms—in particular, the two very small rooms which Churchill himself occupied—because everything is authentic, nothing has been changed.
It’s fascinating because you have the feeling that you’re standing in modern times, but just there, in the space around those cluttered desks and tables only a few feet away, it’s still early May of 1945, and only minutes ago, official word came that the surrender documents have been signed. And the people here took one last sip of tea, stubbed out their cigarettes, turned out the lights … and left.
The Churchill War Rooms, now officially a museum, is located on King Charles Street in London and there are self guided tours every day.