Christopher Powell-Cotton was the only son, the youngest of four children, of Major Percy and Hannah Powell-Cotton. He was born on 23February 1918 when Europe was still gripped by the First World War. The family home, Quex House, was being run as a hospital for wounded soldiers. However, the war did not delay Christopher’s christening by the Bishop of Dover at the All Saint’s Church, Birchington on 20 April 1918. This was followed by a modest reception and a traditional tree planting ceremony.
‘’Whilst the hospital at Quex and the Rations, make entertaining impossible, Major and Mrs Powell-Cotton will be very pleased to see Tenants and Friends, without whose presence and good wishes the ceremony would seem incomplete.’’
Soon after the War ended in November 1918, daily life returned to Quex House and Museum. Here, Christopher and his three sisters, Diana, Mary and Antoinette (‘Tony’), experienced a unique childhood. Surrounded by so many natural wonders and encouraged by their parents, each managed to discover interests and reveal strengths that would influence the ultimate direction of their lives and ensured the progress of their father’s vision and the future of Quex.
In 1920 Christopher’s father revisited Africa after a gap of nine years. He would make sixteen further collecting trips before his death in 1940. Although often away from his family, he would send home many adventure-filled letters. Back at Quex, he would recount his exploits to his son.
1.Christopher enjoying the delights of Minnis Bay during the hot summer of 1920
2.Diana, Mary and Antoinette (‘Tony’) in 1917
3.Christopher and his father share some news during a break from fun and games with his friends at Quex in 1922
4.‘I hope to be home in six weeks with lots to tell you and photos to see’ Christopher with his father home from Abyssinia in 1924
5.Major & Mrs Powell-Cotton and children with staff and patients of the wartime hospital at Quex, November 1918
6.Father and son walking the Quex Estate in 1925