several lumps of sugar worth putting in an historic museum? That may
sound like a funny question, but the fact is that yes they are, especially
if they're part of the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms (CWR)
just a short walk from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the CWR
opened in 1984 and is, at least in my view, one of the most intriguing
museums in London. Although the city is full of captivating museums
to suit almost every taste in things to see and do, the CWR should be
a "must see" for everyone visiting London. Seeing it up close
and personal, makes you feel as if you are actually there in those dark
days of 1940, when Hitler's troops were expected on English soil, at
any moment. Every room in this magnificent museum has been restored
to the way it was when World War Two ended in May, 1945.
of the most important areas of the Cabinet War Rooms is the Map Room
and, when you first see it you're struck, as I was, by the profusion
of white, red and green telephones -- they're everywhere. The desk of
the most important man in the room - the Chief Map Room Officer -- is
strategically located in the center of the display, and it turns out
he had a very sweet tooth. Maybe it was because sugar was in such short
supply back then, but for some unknown reason he saved all his sugar
lumps in an envelope - which he placed in his top desk drawer. During
the restoration in 1980, when it was decided to make everything look
the way it was during World War Two, one of the restorers opened all
the drawers of this desk and, lo and behold, found these still perfect
lumps of sugar! Wow!!! And yes, they too have been saved in this literally
amazing museum. Because the CWR was the nerve center of Churchill's
strategy in so much of the planning of Britain's wartime efforts in
those days, the museum's location is also "somewhat secret."
Their exact address is Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London, SW1A,
but it's very easy to miss, because it's almost hidden from view off
the Horse Guards Road. Unless you knew it was there, you could easily
miss it altogether. It's online at www.iwm.org.uk
and then scroll down the page and click on "Cabinet War Rooms &
Churchill Museum Home."
For more information on Great Britain
in general, let me suggest you go to www.visitbritain.com
or you can call the helpful folks at VisitBritain in New York at 1-800-462-2748.
If London is in your travel plans, I hope you'll find time to visit
this unique, one-of-a-kind museum. I know you'll find it fascinating.
(This is another in the series
of "John Clayton's Travel With A Difference" stories on the
As a history and Churchill buff, I found your article to be chilling.
I hope someday to make it to the museum. Is the CWR at all part
of the Imperial War Museum? I don't know how I missed it in my
only trip to London back in 2000.
Yes it is. If you go online
and click on the IWM website, you'll find out even more information
about this intriguing museum. Thanks for your times and words.
Very excited to see your appearance in the Boitano Blog. I don't
know who the hell all those Boitanos are, but I know who John
Clayton is! Hey, I wrote a note on your column on the Cabinet
War Rooms. I'll be a regular reader. I certainly hope all are
well and happy on the Peninsula and that all your travels are
I urge anyone traveling to London to put the Cabinet War Rooms
high on their "must see" list. All who've taken my advice
have thanked me, just like I thanked you, and do so again, for
recommending the museum to me years ago. But then, it's just one
of many suggestions of yours, every one brilliant!
Ed, Port St. Lucie, FL
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I'm not a morning person so I had no problem leaving those
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