A permanent exhibition in the Foyer of the Wolfson Hall, Churchill College. Open to the public Monday to Sunday, 9am–7pm

The story of our remarkable founder and his unique foundation

Where once there was a bar, you can now sit at a mock Churchill desk, and where once there was a conference office there is now a small cinema area. Around the walls are a selection of high quality images taken from the collections of the Churchill Archives Centre and the College archives.

The aim has been to create a resource that is open and accessible to all members of the College community and their guests, which tells the story of our remarkable founder and his unique foundation.

It starts with Churchill the icon: the famous portrait of the scowling Prime Minister taken by Yousuf Karsh in December 1941. This image, kindly given by Mrs Karsh, is placed above the ghosted image of the plans and photograph of the College that would be built as his national and commonwealth memorial, and which would carry his name.

The visitor is then introduced to some of the highs and lows of Churchill’s early career, brought to life by the cartoons of the time, before being encouraged to listen to some of Churchill’s famous wartime oratory and to view some of the key documents from his period as Prime Minister.


The display then shows how Churchill College arose out of the science of the Second World War, driven in part by Churchill’s interest in technology and his fear that this country might be falling behind others in the Cold War period.

Private film footage of Churchill planting his oak tree here on 17th October 1959, is followed by a wonderful period piece about the building and early years of College by founding Fellow Andrew Sinclair, which in turn gives way to a private colour recording of Churchill’s State Funeral, and to coverage of the 1964 opening of College by HRH Prince Philip (who was the College Visitor).

Further images from the archives tell the early story of Churchill College: The building of the chapel, and Francis Crick’s resignation; the admission of the first women; the replacement of the original Barbara Hepworth sculpture; and the building of the Churchill Archives Centre and the Møller Centre for continuing Education.

History of Churchill College


The display was made possible by the generosity of Churchill alumnus Benefactor Fellow, Dr Anthony Wild and his wife, Anna and was designed and produced by Barry Phipps, with graphic design by Sally Coleman, and with support from College departments working together. It was opened by Mr Randolph Churchill, the great grandson of our founder on 4 December 2015.

Opening Hours

Open to the public 9am–7pm, Monday to Sunday (except when events are taking place in the Theatre). To check opening hours ahead of a visit, please contact The Porters Lodge on T: 01223 336000

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Exhibition opening

Randolph Churchill, great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, opened the exhibition on 4 December 2015.

In his speech, Randolph Churchill said:

“.. it introduces my great grandfather to a general audience in a very visual and engaging way, through the cartoons, photographs and documents of the Churchill Archives Centre and through his spoken words. But it also links to him, through his interest in science and through the great achievements of those wartime scientists who helped fight what he called the ‘Wizard War.’”