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Wiston Churchill's Viewpoint

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

“There’s so much made of Sir Winston Churchill’s visit to Madeira, you’d think he had ‘time-share’ at Pestana Palms. ”

Sir Winston arrives at Câmara de Lobos to indulge in his favourite pastttime - painting

The fact is, he only visited the island briefly in 1899 as a y oung newspaper correspondent on his way to c over the Boer War in South Africa and then again to recoup after the Second World War. When he did finally make it back, it was only f or 12 days! But his impact on the island has lasted f or decades!

Drinks Cabinet

Sir Winston is one of the world’s more famous political tipplers. Customarily photographed with a cigar in one hand and a drink in the other, his daily habit was to have two watereddown whiskies over the course of the morning, Champagne was taken with lunch and vintage wine with dinner followed, of course with a nice Port or brandy. Apparently, his whisky of choice was Johnnie Walker, Black or Red Label. I thought he’d be more of a malt man myself, but there you go!

Churchill also held a strong affection for vintage Madeira Wine and this might ha ve prompted him to enquire to the British Consul on Madeira at the time “about warm, paintable , bathable, comfortable, flowery, hotels”, his intention to spend a f ew weeks on the island to r ecoup after his mammoth war effort and work on his war memoirs. And, of course, to paint!

Paint Therapy

Sir Winston only took up painting at the ag e of 36. He freely admitted that painting - along with writing (he published 43 books) revived his spirits and was an antidote to his frequent bouts of depression. He went on to create some 500 paintings with subject matter r anging

from his goldfish pond at Chartwell to the ‘Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque’, a view of the city of Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains. Churchhill discovered the light and atmosphere of Morocco long before the hippy migration of the 1960s. In the 1930s, he visited the city o f Marrakesh six times.

Churchill and his wife Clementine stayed at Reid’s Palace Hotel in Funchal

Madeira Visit

Churchill and his family stayed at Reid’s Palace Hotel, arriving on Madeira on the 1st January 1950 with a plan to stay for at least a fortnight. Knowing how keen he was on landscape painting, a Rolls Royce was organised by the Leacock family (Madeira wine makers) to take him and his equipment to the nearby fishing village of Câmara de Lobos.

Winston Churchill Viewpoint

The actual spot that Sir Winston oc cupied whilst painting the fishing village of Câmara de Lobos has moved - but only slightly. At the time, the outlook was known as the Espírito Santo (Holy Spirit) viewpoint. The current ‘Winston Churchill viewpoint’ was built in 1963 but y ou can still stand close to the original spot. Looking at the pictur es of the occasion, you wonder if he was a tad too warm under that big overcoat but it was January, and sometimes, even in that month, it does get a little cooler. My only question is, did anyone remember to bring Sir Winston a Poncha?

A life-size statue of Churchill is situated at the entrance of Pestana Churchill Bay Hotel


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