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Winston Churchill is known the world over for his leadership, his rousing speeches and for almost always holding a cigar in his hands, but what you might not know is that he was also a user of Conway Stewart pens. His correspondence during the war reveals his preference for a particular Conway Stewart pen which his supplier R. Horsley (Grand Arcade Pen Shop, Trafalgar Square) declares himself in 1943 “impossible to obtain.” But who could refuse the Prime Minister his favourite pen? Although out of production for several years, Conway Stewart managed to provide Winston with three pens which “had been put together with parts as we could find available.” An unsigned portrait of the Prime Minister was sent to Conway Stewart as a note of thanks.
Sir Winston ChurchillSo it was only natural that that British pen manufacturer was asked to provide a number of pens to be used as props in director Joe Wright’s 2017 Oscar winning film Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. They happily obliged and supplied a Conway Stewart Churchill Classic Black Gold fountain pen – very apt as it was named after the Great Man! The film features a scene where Winston sits, with this pen in hand, making some last minute edits to his first live radio speech as Prime Minister to the nation and Commonwealth. It is a tense moment, but after an uncomfortable long silence, he bursts into life with one of his most rousing speeches that included the words “ one bond unites us all, to wage war till victory is won and never to surrender ourselves to servitude and shame. Whatever the costs, and agony may be, conquer we must, as conquer we shall.” The scene is around 41 minutes into the film, and a clip of it is below on YouTube. Once Churchill finishes his speech, he drops the pen and it rolls slowly away on the desk and off screen in a strangely ominous way that probably reflects the title of the film The Darkest Hour!
An unrivalled legacy
In addition to the pens provided for Darkest Hour, Conway Stewart has also designed and marketed a limited series of Conway Stewart Churchill Heritage pens produced in association with Churchill Heritage – through which the Churchill family distributes money to charities and good causes that keep alive the legacy of Sir Winston and the spirit of the words of wisdom he penned. The cap of each of these heritage pens is engraved with Churchill’s sketch of a pug, “Pug” being the affectionate nickname that Churchill’s wife Clementine used to call him. His words of wisdom, which still resonate today, are included in the book “Good advice from Winston Churchill” – all enclosed in a replica of the red Cabinet boxes he used to transport his ministerial papers.
At the movies
Darkest Hour was not Conway Stewart’s only foray on the silver screen in 2017; Conway Stewart also provided specially made pens for use in Kingsman:The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The Conway Stewart Churchill Kingman was such a hit with fans and collectors that it is now sold out, but all is not lost for those who want a pen with a starring role: take a look at the latest Conway Stewart release, the Series 58 Indiana Jones Replica pen here.