Winnie’s V from Victory as he gets Portsmouth’s top honour

Sir Winston Churchill's freedom dinner, 1950
Sir Winston Churchill's freedom dinner, 1950

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In this picture we see the great and the good of Portsmouth gathered in 1950 for one of the greatest civic occasions of the last century.

Look closely and on the top table you can just make out the unmistakable figure of Sir Winston Churchill.

For this was the dinner held to welcome him into an exclusive club – as a Freeman of the City of Portsmouth.

He was presented with an oak casket made from the timbers of HMS Victory and in his after-dinner speech he said it would become ‘one of my most treasured possessions’.

The casket was given to Churchill by the man who also came to represent Portsmouth’s never-say-die wartime spirit, lord mayor Sir Denis Daley.

But the picture begs a question. Where was the dinner held?

The bombed Guildhall was still nine years away from being rebuilt.

I know the council moved its headquarters to the Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea, after the Guildhall was destroyed in January 1941, so might the occasion have happened there?