Winston Churchill may be one of the most beloved politicians of the 20th century (which is a feat, considering some of the politicians we’ve had in the 20th century).
But while we’re at no loss for Churchill historians, there are still a few things about him that isn’t common information to everybody. Here’s our attempt to introduce a little more Churchill to you and yours – or at the very least, give you a fact to show off with the next time you need one.
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Winston Churchill.
1. A trip to India turned Churchill on to whisky
Winston Churchill was famously quoted as saying “I have made it a rule of my life never to drink nonalcoholic drinks between meals.” However, he hated whisky until a trip to India, where he learned how to drink it properly, and soon got into Johnnie Walker, which he drank with soda.
2. He cared a lot about his underwear
And who doesn’t, honestly. However, where some of us may splurge for something not on sale, Churchill allegedly preferred pink silk from the army and navy stores. In the words of his wife, they “cost the eyes out of his head.”
3. He flashed President Roosevelt
Winston Churchill didn’t care about what anybody thought. Not even President Roosevelt, whom he slipped a bath towel off for while declaring that, has he “nothing to hide.” Top that, any other Prime Minister.
4. He loved animals, but especially his cat, Jock
Most of us equate Churchill to the British bulldog (obviously), but the politician actually had a soft spot for cats – and one in particular: a marmalade-coloured cat with a white bib and socks named Jock. Named after his private secretary, Sir John “Jock” Colville, Jock left a legacy. After Churchill’s death in 1965, it was written that a marmalade cat named Jock should always live in Chartwell (now run by the National Trust).
5. He also loved animals so much he asked his wife to carve the goose
But seriously, Churchill’s love of animals was nothing fleeting. In addition to taking in a number of pets, the former prime minister once asked his wife Clementine to carve the goose they were having for dinner: “You’ll have to carve it, Clemmie,” he requested. “He was my friend.”
6. He preferred clear soup
Haters of cream soups, you aren’t alone: Winston Churchill also hated them (and reasonably so, because they are gross), and preferred to start his meals with a clear sort. He also loved picnics, which is actually just a wonderful mental picture.
7. His favourite movie was "That Hamilton Woman"
In addition to watching movies regularly at his home with staff, family, and guests, his favourite was 1941’s "That Hamilton Woman", starring Vivien Leigh and Sir Lawrence Olivier. (So to answer your question: yes, he had great taste in films.)
8. Churchill liked musicals
Or at least that what we can take away from historians’ find in his record cabinet: Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as music hall veterans Marie Lloyd and Harry Lauder.
9. His mum tried to convince him to quit smoking
Churchill’s mum almost succeeded in making her son quit smoking. When he was 15, she bribed him with a gun and a pony – if he could stay off the cigars for six months. And it worked! (Just not forever, clearly.)
10. He wasn’t a waster of time
Both in life and in terms of fashion. According to Barry Singer’s book, "Churchill Style", the man never wore lace-up shoes because he “liked to slip in and out of things.” Like his slippers: made by Hook, Knowles & Co., they were a personal favourite of the very fashionable politicians.