Churchill 'set to fade from memory'
Published 14/05/2010 | 05:13
By 2090 future generations will no longer recognise Winston Churchill, new research has revealed.
It seems hard to believe amid the current political storm, but research commissioned by the Royal Mint found that, in 80 years' time, people will not recognise the former prime minister.
As part of the survey, carried out to mark this week's 70th anniversary of Churchill's prime ministerial tenure, more than 1,136 people were asked to identify three prominent 20th century PMs including Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
One in five (19%) adults failed to name Churchill, with the figure rising to 32% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 44% of those aged 16 to 24.
Following the pattern, researchers projected the rough date when the leaders would no longer be recognised, with Churchill's demise predicted in 80 years' time.
They said the vast majority of those questioned could identify both Mr Blair (97%) and Baroness Thatcher (98%).
But recognition dropped significantly in the 16 to 24-year-old range - 16% failed to identify Baroness Thatcher and more than a quarter (27%) were unable to recognise Mr Blair.
If this downward trend was to continue, Gordon Brown's predecessor would be "extinct" in the public consciousness by 2075, followed by the Iron Lady in 2115, they said.
The survey, which involved people naming black and white headshot photos of the prime ministers, saw Churchill mistaken for Stephen Fry, Robert Hardy, Michael Gambon, Charlie Chaplin, Oliver Hardy, John Betjeman and Roy Hattersley, the Royal Mint said. And one person even incorrectly identified Tony Blair as David Cameron.
The research could help the country's new leader make sure he cements his place in the history books rather than being forgotten.