Churchill & Spain in Manchester
The opening in Manchester of the British Spanish Society’s Churchill & Spain exhibition, with the generous support of the Cervantes Institute, drew an enthusiastic and lively British and Spanish public to its opening and keynote talk by its curator the author and journalist Jimmy Burns OBE yesterday (May 2).
The event was hosted by Francisco Oda , Director of the Cervantes in Manchester and Leeds, at the Institute’s impressive historic building in the city’s cultural and social hub Deansgate. The exhibition , which be open to the public over the next two months, charts Churchill’s links with Spain from his early days in Cuba to Word War 2 and his final years in retirement as a VIP tourist.
BSS chairman Burns noted the Cervantes headquarters in Manchester was originally opened in the early Victorian period by the famous British novelist the late Charles Dickens, and he praised Manchester as a diverse and culturally vibrant city that has a long history of attracting intellectuals and artists of all backgrounds.
In his presentation, Burns described Churchill as an an “aristocratic and romantic imperialist full of admiration for the Quixotic spirit of the Spanish people” , and a declared admiration for Spain which the great war leader called “one of the oldest branches in the tree of European nations.”
While some of the exhibits, generously sponsored by Hispania,were first shown by the BSS in London in 2015, on the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death , the project has since become itinerant, moving to Cambridge last autumn and with plans to go to Spain, continuing to evolve with new material being added so as to make it a “shared and dynamic project.”
Media attending in Manchester included the BBC’s Mark Dowd and the Financial Times North of England correspondent Andrew Bounds who tweeted: “Exhibition on Churchill and Spain well worth a look. Lots of revealing material about Churchill.”
Among the public attending were local British and Spanish businessmen, students, and academics including the curator of Stonyhurst College Dr Jan Graffius, and Dr Karl McLaughlin, Senior Lecturer in Spanish, Languages, Linguistics and TESOL at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The exhibition in Manchester is profiled in Punto de Enlace, a special programme by the Instituto Cervantes of the Spanish national radio RNE
Francisco’s Oda’s interview with Jimmy Burns is also being broadcast on the Instituto Cervantes Manchester’s YouTube channel.