Stone and lead ashtray.

Contributed by Gregory Hargrove

Stone and lead ashtray.

On 10/11th May 1941, German bombers destroyed the House of Commons Chamber. My father, crippled in an accident and so unfit for military service, was in charge of demolishing the ruin. Sir Winston Churchill asked my father to carefully dismantle the archway from the Members' Lobby to the Chamber, badly scarred by bomb fragments, so it could be rebuilt later just as it was, as a reminder of the event. My father personally did this & the archway was later put back in its place, known from then on as the Churchill arch. The rubble, burnt wood & lead from the roof (which had melted & formed random lumps on the floor) was trucked off to a site somewhere in Essex. BUT, some of the stone & lead was made into ashtrays, which were widely advertised for sale, in particular in America, the proceeds going to a charity for victims of the war & some, I believe, towards the rebuilding of the Chamber. It was reopened in 1950. Sir Winston gave one of the ashtrays to my father & I inherited it from him. It reminds me of the horror & waste of war but also of my father, who was in charge of the demolition of dozens of war damaged churches & other historic buildings all over the UK, especially London.

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About this object

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Location
Culture
Period

Late 1940s

Theme
Size
H:
3.5cm
W:
14cm
D:
14cm
Colour
Material

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