9 March 2024

Arrival from 9.30am, event 10am - 6pm

Churchill War Rooms

£78 Standard | £70.20 IWM members

Tickets must be booked by 9am on Friday 8 March. Limited availability.

Indulge your love of learning with a full-day course exploring the life and achievements of Winston Churchill. 

In partnership with Queen Mary University of London, IWM Institute’s one-day masterclasses offer a behind-the-scenes opportunity to expand your knowledge of 20th century history. 

Taking place in a friendly learning environment, the masterclass is led by experts and scholars from IWM and Queen Mary University of London in the unique setting of Churchill War Rooms, the underground headquarters of Churchill and his Second World War cabinet. The day includes an opportunity to access exclusive items from IWM’s collections which are not currently on public display.

Part of the IWM Institute

The Institute is IWM's research and knowledge exchange hub. We provide access to IWM's rich collections for research and innovation to increase the public's understanding of war and conflict.

The Masterclass

IWM Masterclasses are suitable for anyone with a passion and enthusiasm for modern history, all you need to attend is a motivation to learn. IWM members enjoy a 10% discount.

The masterclass includes four engaging lectures, each covering a different aspect of Churchill’s life.



Welcome and Refreshments: Free tea and coffee provided.

Churchill and the First World War, James Taylor: Exploring Churchill’s role in the First World War, we’ll investigate his time as First Lord of the Admiralty and his part in the disastrous Dardanelles campaign, through to his service in the trenches and his role as Minister of Munitions in the final years of the war. 

Refreshment Break: Free tea and coffee provided.

Churchill and the Coming of the Second World War, Prof Dan Todman: Examining how Churchill’s political fortunes were transformed by the onset of the Second World War, we’ll investigate his return to government, the part he played in the opening months of the war and his appointment as Prime Minister. Gain an understanding of what this dramatic story tells us about 1930s and 1940s Britain and how Churchill told it, both at the time and afterwards. 

Lunch Break and Object Viewing

Churchill as part of the Big Three, Kate Clements: Churchill, Josef Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt were known collectively as the ‘Big Three’. We’ll discover how the personal relationships between these men were in many ways as important as the political, military and strategic decisions they made. We’ll view the separate elements of this crucial, yet uneasy, alliance from Churchill’s perspective, exploring the interpersonal dynamics of their triumvirate and its importance to the outcome of the war.

Refreshment Break: Free tea and coffee provided.

Churchill and Europe in War, Cold War and Beyond, Dr James Ellison: Our final lecture will examine the story of Churchill’s post-war legacy, both as a proponent of European unification and as a believer in British exceptionalism.  We’ll consider how these two Churchills have cast a long shadow, and how his myth has been used by those who wish to add weight to their political causes. We’ll seek to understand Churchill’s meaning in his call for a ‘United States of Europe’, how history led him to champion the idea, and how the past, the Second World War and the Cold War placed Britain in a different constellation in his mind.

Museum Visit: The masterclass will conclude with an opportunity to explore the Churchill War Rooms and walk through once top-secret rooms and corridors where some of the most important decisions of the Second World War were made. Also visit IWM’s award winning Churchill Museum; with the knowledge you’ve gained through the masterclass you may well see the objects in a different light. 

About the Speakers

IWM Institute masterclasses are run by scholars from Queen Mary University of London and curators from Imperial War Museums. Experts in their fields, the speakers will provide lectures and a chance to engage in conversation about their specialist subject.

James Taylor, Principal Curator of Public History at IWM, stands in front of a bookcase.
© James Taylor

James Taylor | Principal Curator of Public History at IWM

James Taylor began his career at IWM working in the museum’s library. From 1996, he became a member of the curatorial team that worked on the Holocaust Exhibitions at IWM London and IWM North.  

James led the team of curators which identified and interpreted objects for display in the permanent, biographical Churchill Museum at Churchill War Rooms. In the years since, he has given media interviews and talks on Churchill at a range of venues, as well as tours of Churchill War Rooms for visitor groups and distinguished guests.   

James was head of the curatorial team that developed the permanent First World War Galleries which opened at IWM London in 2014 and, more recently, acted as an internal consultant for the Second World War Galleries and Holocaust Galleries at IWM London.

Professor Dan Todman, Professor of Modern History and Deputy Vice Principal for Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary University of London
© Professor Dan Todman

Professor Dan Todman | Professor of Modern History and Deputy Vice Principal for Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary University of London

Dan Todman’s research focuses on the military, political and social history of Britain during the world wars, as well as how these conflicts were subsequently remembered. He co-edited the best-selling Diaries of Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke and authored The Great War, Myth and Memory  and a two-volume history of Britain's Second World War: Into Battle and A New World.  

Dan sat on the Academic Advisory Board for the IWM's redesign of its First and Second World War Galleries and contributed to the audio-visual exhibits on both the Chiefs of Staff and the V-1 attacks, which can be seen in Churchill War Rooms. 

Headshot of Kate Clements, curator of Churchill War Rooms

Kate Clements | Curator of Churchill War Rooms

Kate Clements has worked at Imperial War Museums since 2006. She has curated a number of exhibitions at IWM London, including the permanent, award-winning Second World War Galleries, the Victoria Cross and George Cross Gallery Extraordinary Heroes and Crown and Conflict: Portraits of a Queen in Wartime.  

Kate is the author of Total War: A People’s History of the Second World War and The Royal Family in Wartime. She has also delivered digital historical content, including a popular podcast series, Voices of the First World War.

Headshot of Dr James Ellison
© Dr James Ellison

Dr James Ellison | Reader in International History at Queen Mary University of London 

James Ellison is a specialist on the post-war history of Britain’s relationship with Europe and the United States and the Cold War and European integration. These subjects have featured in his books, Threatening Europe: Britain and the Creation of the European Community, 1955-58 and The United States, Britain and the Transatlantic Crisis: Rising to the Gaullist Challenge, 1963-68.  

He has also explored the question of why Britain has had such a troubled relationship with European unity in academic journal articles and in the popular press, and as a commentator on BBC radio and television and for the international media.  He continues to come back to Churchill’s 1930 statement ‘We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked, but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed.’ 

About the Venue

A couple visiting Churchill War Rooms, they're looking at a row of wartime desks, topped with several rotary telephones.

Churchill War Rooms house both the underground nerve centre where the British government directed the Second World War as well as the award-winning Churchill Museum. What better place to study the man who occupied these rooms, making decisions which would affect the course of history. 

Walk the once top-secret corridors and follow in the footsteps of the men and women who worked here during Britain's darkest hours, see personal effects left untouched for decades, and explore the life of one of Britain's most formidable figures.  



IWM Institute Masterclasses are brought to you in partnership with Queen Mary University of London.

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