In a strange twist, MI6 visits MI6...
MI6 Visits The Real MI6
9th August 2002
only a matter of time before the two MI6's would meet -
the unofficial website and the real government department.
sunny afternoon in August, MI6 (co.uk) visited MI6 (London)
for a closer look at the department that gave it's name
to the world's most visited unofficial James Bond site.
The famous MI6 HQ up close.
MI6 can reveal pictures of the famous building - the likes of
which have never been released before. Unfortunately for obvious
security reasons, no pictures from within the building itself
were possible, although Bond fans can well imagine the interior
based on the excellent sets from "The World Is Not Enough".
The term MI6 is no longer in official use, as the department
as long been known as SIS (Secret Intelligence Service), although
thanks to 007, several films, books and inaccurate news media
- the name still lives on.
MI6 originated in 1909 (then known as "Foreign Section
of the Secret Service Bureau") and was headed up by
Captain Sir Mansfield Cumming. The departments job was to
gather intelligence from overseas (whereas MI5 are UK orientated),
and was granted it's own identity in 1922 as SIS. Cumming
is well remembered for assigning himself the moniker "C"
(which inspired Fleming to create "M") and always
wrote his memo's in green ink - a tradition which is rumoured
to continue with modern-day chiefs.
Left: The pillars and meeting place.
The new MI6 building situated in Vauxhall Cross (London, UK)
is the brainchild of architect Terry Farrell and has been in government
use since 1995. Costing an impressive £150m at the time
of construction, public building plans revealed it to be 5 stories
The department's motto "Semper Occultus" translates
to "always secret" and is known as "The Firm"
within intelligence circles. Casual observers may be forgiven
for thinking only a handful of people work in the building,
given the tight security very few are seen coming and going.
But the building hosts 2,300 staff - although in the wake
of September 11th 2001, government leaks suggest this number
could double over the coming years to help counter world
Right: The fountains of the north "Thames"
The role of the building in the Bond films does not stop after
the boat chase in "The World Is Not Enough", as MI6
can reveal an element of "Die Another Day" which utilises
the architecture and location in a completely new way. As with
tradition, Bond will visit Q to receive his latest gadgets and
the new Aston Martin Vanquish - but not in the regular Q-Branch
we have come to know.
For 007's 20th adventure, a secret underground station
will host Q's personal workshop, and Bond will drive his
Vanquish out through a disused tunnel. The real-world Vauxhall
Cross tube station is only yards away from the MI6 building,
so passengers after November 20th may be forgiven for wondering
what really lurks beneath the pavements.
Left: The real Vauxhall Cross tube station is
only yards away from MI6 HQ.