Expect a few surprises and some unique insights into the life of Winston Churchill when historian and author David Lough speaks at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre.
The war leader and controversial politician was a regular visitor to Hampshire, both during his premiership and as first lord of the admiralty in the years leading up to World War I.
He regularly inspected ships and naval bases in and around Portsmouth Harbour and accompanied King George V at the Spithead review of more than 400 naval vessels in July 1914.
And on the eve of D-Day in 1944, he joined the US general Dwight D Eisenhower at Southwick House, where plans for the invasion of Europe had been finalised.
That evening, at a dinner on his train hidden in a railway siding in nearby Droxford, Churchill famously ordered vintage champagne and, David recounts, “grand old brandy out of balloon glasses”.
But it’s the personal, emotional and intellectual life of Churchill which really fascinates David.
“It’s the contrasts between the public image of this complex man as an iconic war leader and the private person full of human flaws,” he said.He said the most obvious thread between his private and public persona was the scale of his risk-taking.
David promises plenty of surprises at his talk at The Spring on May 3, with tales of Churchill’s gambling and tax avoidance, to name just two.
“Opinions differ as to whether this was the result of an 'extravagant personality', or efforts to ward off intermittent depression through seeking constant occupation and adventure, or a mild version of a bi-polar disorder.
“It was probably partly genetic and partly the result of a difficult childhood - the early death of his father and a period of neglect from his extraordinary mother.”
David is the author of No More Champagne, Churchill and his Money, which pieces together the largely unknown story of Churchill’s chaotic finances.
It was one of the “books of 2015” for a number of national newspapers and shortlisted for the Longman-History Today Book Prize 2016.
To shed light on Churchill's personality, David also researched the letters between the man and his mother.
His second book, Darling Winston – Forty Years of Letters between Winston Churchill and his Mother received similar acclaim.
David Lough: In Search of the Inner Churchill is on Friday, May 3 at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, 7.30pm. Tickets £20.