National Trust stops selling cigars at Winston Churchill’s home over ‘ethical’ concerns

The National Trust has stopped selling cigars at the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill after a review which included examining the cigars’ profitability and “ethical sourcing”.

The trust has made Sir Winston’s fondness for a Cuban cigar – he is estimated to have smoked some 150,000 of them over his lifetime – a selling point for attracting visitors to Chartwell, his family seat in Kent.

An entry on the National Trust’s Chartwell website says: “No object more immediately connects us to its owner than Winston Churchill and his cigars.”

However, the trust said that after a decade, it stopped selling the cigars in October 2020 from a special humidor in a shop at the property, after a review that looked at “customer demand, profitability, sustainability and ethical sourcing”.

“Cigars were discontinued from the Chartwell shop due to low demand versus other products. The Chartwell shop still stocks a wide range of products that celebrate Churchill and his remarkable legacy.”

In 2019, this cigar that Sir Winston Churchill partially smoked in 1953 at the London Coliseum – together with The Telegraph's newspaper story covering his visit – went under the hammer

Credit: Hansons

Sir Winston was estimated to have smoked eight cigars a day, discarding some after only a few puffs and was rarely photographed without one in his hand.

The former prime minister is said to have discovered his liking for Cuban cigars after he found them an agreeable way of passing the time while under bombardment by revolutionaries during a visit to the Caribbean island at the age of 21.

Katherine Carter, the trust’s curator at Chartwell, told the i newspaper that Sir Winston knew how the cigar helped his public image.

On the way to delivering his famous 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech in the US railing against Soviet policy, she told how Sir Winston “called for the car to stop as they neared their destination.

“He patted his pockets, pulled out a cigar and put it, unlit into his mouth. Turning to his colleague he remarked, ‘Never forget your trademark’.”

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