Call In The Professionals! MI5 and MI6

a photograph of a large office building with traffic in the foreground

MI5 HQ - Britain's foreign espionage services operate from this suitably monolithic building - Thames House. © Richard Moss/24 Hour Museum

The importance of counter-intelligence, notably during the Second War and the Cold War, can be traced through the physical expansion in the size of properties now occupied by MI5 and MI6 (or the Security Service).

MI5, responsible for counter-intelligence and some anti-terrorist operations within Britain, has its headquarters in Thames House, Milbank (Westminster) opposite Lambeth Bridge. Of course, we can look at it (some may say you can't miss it) but there is still no public access to the buidling - despite the tantalizing presence of a private museum contained within. The next best thing is to visit their website -

a photograph of a large office block on the banks of a river

This rather strange looking edifice at Vauxhall Cross is the HQ of MI6. Nobody can quite decide how many floors there are (and that's just above ground.) Richard Moss/24 Hour Museum

Almost opposite Millbank on the south bank of the River Thames the new headquarters of MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service) dominates the skyline at Vauxhall Cross.

MI6 is responsible for gathering intelligence of foreign powers and organisations, which gives it an often-contested counter-intelligence role.

The new MI6 base, opened in 1996, also reflects the influence of the intelligence community and contrasts sharply with its previous HQ in Century House, adjacent to the Lambeth North underground, or the Broadway Buildings the service occupied between 1924-66.

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