Câmara de Lobos is a beautiful fishermen village on Madeira island. The specialisation of the area is the black sablefish fishing. Therefore its main bay gives home to local fishermen boats, and they come in many vivid colours. They call them “Xavelhas”. The former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill visited Madeira in 1950. While he was in Madeira, he painted an outstanding portrait about the bay with the “Xavelhas” on January 8. The village till today remembers his visit, and we can see many sites named after him. Let’s see what are those memories of Winston Churchill on Madeira!
About Câmara de Lobos
We can find Câmara de Lobos on the south coast of the island of Madeira. The municipality of Câmara de Lobos has about 35,000 inhabitants distributed over an area of 51.82 km2.
The name of this town comes from the fact that, at the time of the discovery of the island, the discoverers saw a large number of sea lions around. Currently these animals occasionally emerge only on the southern coast of the island.
The main economic activities are fishing, agriculture, where the cultivation of wine stands out. By the way, this was the first settlement that João Gonçalves Zarco himself founded and created on Madeira.
Churchill on Madeira
Winston Churchill, the well-known British Prime Minister during World War II, spent 12 days vacationing in Madeira, in January of 1950, and left its imprint in the region’s tourism. He arrived at the island on 1st January, 1950 aboard the Durban Castle ship. He was accompanied by his wife, his eldest daughter and two secretaries, a concierge, a body-guard and by Colonel Frederick Deakin, his councillor in the writing of his memoires.
On 8th January, 1950, he went to Câmara de Lobos, seven kilometres west of Funchal, in a Rolls Royce owned by the Leacock family. At the village entrance, he set up his easel and canvas, sat down and painted the bay and the islet. Photographer Raul Perestrelo immortalised this moment and the location is currently known as the Winston Churchill Viewpoint – Miradouro Winston Churchill.
We could find some images about the famous portrait thanks to Daily Mail UK. The portrait is about how Winston Churchill is painting the village. You may see that the village changed but the “Xavelhas” were already there in 1950.
An almost life size bronze statue of Winston Churchill is situated, on the veranda area, by the entrance of Pestana Churchill Bay Hotel. It is in the the picturesque setting overlooking the harbour. The statue depicts Churchill sitting in front of an easel and canvas. He has a cigar in his mouth and paint brush in his hand. Part of the statue is an empty chair beside Churchill, it’s great photo opportunity.
There is a plaque on the ground in front of the statue which reads:
“Pestana Group Hotel’s tribute to Sir Winston Churchill visit to Camara de Lobos on 8th January 1950. Inaugurated by Minnie and Jennie Churchill. President of the Madeiran Government Miguel Albuquerque and Mayor of Camara de Lobos Pedro Coelho 26th June 2019“.
The hotel where Winston Churchill stayed
Churchill stayed at Reid’s Palace Hotel, that is located in Funchal, in the capital of Madeira. Reid’s Palace Hotel addressed the invitation in the summer of 1949, to mark its reopening following World War II.
This illustrious visitor should have remained in Madeira until the 16th January, however he changed his return to the 12th, due to the forthcoming general elections in England, due in February of that year. He left the island aboard a hydroplane of the English company Aquila Airways, his wife and daughter having returned on the originally scheduled date.
Other activities in Câmara de Lobos
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