Tomorrow night (30th November 2016) sees Churchill Night returning to the eponymously named pub in Kensington Church Street, Notting Hill – bringing 1941 back to life. The Churchill Arms has been hosting “Churchill Night” since 1985. Each year, in honour of Winston Churchill’s birthday, they black out the windows, turn up the Glen Miller and hosts a birthday party to remember for the man voted as the Greatest Briton in the 2002 BBC poll.
This year’s event will feature renowned fiddle player, Brendan Mulcare, who will be playing a violin made from Winston Churchill’s cigar box. The “rustic” violin, which was recently purchased by landlord Gerry O’Brien at a Sotheby’s auction for £6,600, was made by self-taught English maker and former master saddler William Robinson, and was played by Yehudi Menuhin in an American radio broadcast in April 1958. It is branded with ‘Made in Havana – Cuba’, on the front and on the back, ‘Selección Privada, Fabrica Tabacos Don Joaquin, Habana’.
The Churchill Night festivities will kick off from 6pm, with speeches from a few notable Churchill experts and marks the start of the festive period for the pub. On Tuesday 6th December the 20,000 lights on Gerry’s 80 Christmas trees (a record for the pub) will be switched on.
Gerry has this to say:-
“I’m 65 years old now – and this is my thirty-first Churchill Night. It’s always an occasion to remember and I’m so pleased with my new piece of Churchill memorabilia – a fantastic violin made from one of the great man’s cigar boxes. It’s even more exciting to have a kindred spirit from County Clare, Brendan Mulcare, to play it on the night.
I know lots of my usual Churchill Night customers will be there for the event – but I hope that some new ones will come and visit us too. It’s a great night for all and the highlight of my calendar year. Every year, it gets better and better – and I think this year is going to be the icing on the cake and definitely my best ever. There will be music and dancing – but no moonlight. That is firmly blacked out in true Blitz style!”