London, South Kensington
2 June 2008
CHURCHILL'S CIGARETTE CASE: a hinged, wood-lined silver case (wooden base) by James Dixon & Son of Sheffield, hallmarked 1900, 207 x 117mm, with grooves for three partitions (lacks partitions). Engraved on the lid: 'PRESENTED TO W.S.C. BY THE MARLBOROUGH CONSERVATIVE CLUB 1900'. Provenance: the Oldham Habitation of the Primrose League (handwritten note).
A MEMENTO OF CHURCHILL'S VERY FIRST ELECTION VICTORY. The case is likely to have been given to Churchill in recognition of his achievement in winning the previously Liberal seat of Oldham, Lancashire, in the 1900 General Election, which marked his first entry into Parliament and helped secure a decisive national victory for the Conservatives. The Marlborough Conservative Club was a local organisation based in Pitt Street East in the Clarkesfield Ward of Oldham. In 1903, they passed a motion against Churchill because of his opposition to the government's planned fiscal reforms, a sign of his growing dissatisfaction with the party which led to his defection to the Liberals in May 1904. This cigarette case was among the items which Churchill subsequently donated to the Oldham Habitation of the Primrose League, a nationwide Conservative organisation co-founded by Churchill's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, and of which he himself was a staunch supporter until his break with the Tories.
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