Winston Churchill 'set to fade from memory'
By 2090 future generations will no longer recognise Winston Churchill, new research revealed today.
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 were 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.
Prof George Jones, Emeritus Professor of British Government at the London School of Economics, said: "There's a complex combination of factors at play when it comes to maintaining prime ministerial longevity and being remembered as a great British leader.
"For long-lasting impact and to cement your position in the public consciousness, certain character and personality traits such as potency and decisiveness must be apparent and proven crisis-handling demonstrated.
"If the new Prime Minister wants to secure his place in history, he must bear these things in mind."
Data was collected according to five age groups - 16 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, and 55+ - then researchers worked out what the percentage recognition was of each age group when they were 16-24.
The results were plotted on a graph going back to 1970, when the oldest age group was 16-24, and a "line of best fit" was calculated to the point where recognition was at 0% - the year of "extinction".
Kevin Clancy, head of Historical Services at the Royal Mint, added: "It's shocking that one of our greatest statesmen runs the risk of potentially being forgotten.
"Churchill remains an historical colossus and is arguably one of the nation's greatest Britons.
"It's fundamentally important that we commemorate our heritage for future generations to celebrate, and to mark the 70 years that have passed since he was Prime Minister we're immensely proud to have designed a new £5 coin featuring an iconic Churchillian image, to help his memory live on."
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Russell Brand opposes anti-Semitism after death threats: 'We must disavow all forms of prejudice that lead to exclusion and execution'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...