The best Winston Churchill quotes to get you through your day

Laura Hampson

In 2002, the BBC conducted a poll asking UK residents who they thought was the greatest Briton of all time.

No it wasn’t Colin Firth or Emma Thompson, it wasn’t even Princess Diana (although she came third); it was Sir Winston Churchill.

Historically ranked as one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers, he famously kept the nation’s spirit up during World War II and even won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

Churchill has been popping up in our screens lately, most notably in the first season of Netflix’s The Crown, where he was portrayed by John Lithgow, and now in the new film The Darkest Hour, portrayed by Gary Oldman.

Oldman has received much praise for his turn as Churchill, last week he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Movie – Drama and he is tipped to win the Best Actor Oscar at the Academy Awards in March.

Churchill has even been back in the news after US Governor Mike Huckabee likened him to US President, Donald Trump. British MPs across the spectrum were quick to shut Huckabee down.

To honour Churchill’s continuing influence, we’ve rounded up some of his most inspired quotes below.

1. On looking towards the future

"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days." - to the House of Commons, November 12, 1940

2. On being an optimist

"For myself, I am an optimist—it does not seem to be much use being anything else." - during a speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet in London, November 9, 1954

3. On why you should never lose your pride

"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." - to Harrow School, October 29, 1941

4. On the importance of who we surround ourselves with

“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.”

5. On the importance of being well-read

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.”

6. On why you should live in the present

"It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time." - to the House of Commons, February 27, 1945

7. On the importance of admitting you've made a mistake

"In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet." - recounted by Lord Norman Brook in Working with Churchill

8. On why you should never be scared to make your point

"If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time." - advice to the Prince of Wales, future king Edward VIII 1919

9. On why you should always be kind to others

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”