The real James Bonds

British intelligence and security in the twentieth century

course description

This course will introduce you to the activities of the British intelligence and security services, from the foundation of the Secret Service Bureau in 1909 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. You will learn to analyse original documents, previously withheld as secret, that help us to understand their work, along with personal testimony from those involved.

Prior experience

None required.

equipment required


this course will be of interest to

Anyone who has an interest in the history of the British intelligence and security community.

course dates

This course runs for 4 Thursdays, 12 September – 3rd October from 5pm – 8pm

course price


course overview

Over the course of four, three-hour sessions, we will explore:

1. The Defence of the Realm
The work of the Security Service, MI5.
2. Secret Intelligence Gathering 
The work of the Secret Intelligence Service, SIS (or MI6).
3. Set Europe Ablaze!
The work of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War
4. The Eavesdroppers
The work of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and its predecessor, the Government Code and Cipher School)


Dr Christopher J. Murphy

Dr Christopher J. Murphy is a Senior Lecturer in Intelligence Studies at the University of Salford. He has researched and published extensively on the history of the British intelligence community during the twentieth century, including articles for The C


Twitter: @SourceMerlin 

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Salford M50 2EQ