A CLOCK from Winston Churchill’s cabinet war rooms is going up for auction.
The ebony-cased clock was given by Churchill to George Rance, clerk of the war room, at the end of the war and is offered for sale by his granddaughter at Stride and Son in Chichester across its two-day auction on November 19 and 20.
Rance was the clerk of the cabinet war room and effectively became Churchill’s right-hand man as custodian of the bunker.
The war rooms were initially conceived in 1936 as a bomb-proof command centre in case of war with Germany, and when the go-ahead was given to turn a group of basement rooms under Whitehall into this top secret base, known only to a few, it was the former Rifle Brigade sergeant Rance who was given the task of equipping them.
The existence of the cabinet war rooms was such a closely-guarded secret that all correspondence sent to the bunker was simply addressed ‘c/o Mr Rance, Office of Works, Whitehall’.
Special locks were fitted to the doors to which Rance had the only keys. The bunker became fully operational on August 27, 1939, and was in use 24 hours a day until August 16, 1945.
“It is now nearly 50 years since Churchill’s death and the chance to purchase items with such strong and personal links to the legendary figure himself are exceptionally scarce. This possibly represents a unique opportunity for some collectors to acquire an item from the headquarters of government during such a critical time in Britain’s war effort,” said the auctioneers.
The clock, which is stamped ‘PM’, carries a pre-sale auction estimate of £400-600.
Stride and Son will also offer a signed copy of Churchill’s book ‘My Early Life; a Roving Commission’ in the same two-day auction, inscribed ‘To G Rance from Winston Churchill, 1945’, it is expected to fetch £200-300.
Stride & Son can be contacted on 01243 780207 or email@example.com