Hanslope Park

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Construction work at Hanslope Park

Hanslope Park is located about half a mile south-east of the village of Hanslope in the Borough of Milton Keynes. Once the manorial estate of the village, it is now owned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and is home to Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre ('HMGCC').


The manor house was built for Basil Brent in 1692.[1] It was acquired in Autumn 1764 by Edward Watts, son of William Watts, who had been a senior official in the East India Company, and of his wife, better known as Begum Johnson.[2] Having passed down the Watts family, it was the scene of a murder on 21 July 1912 when William Farrow, Edward Hanslope Watts's gamekeeper, shot his master and then committed suicide.[3] Robin Watts owned the house until 1939, when it was bought by Lord Hesketh who handed it over to the War Office when it was requisitioned in 1941.[1]

In the Second World War the Radio Security Service was based at Hanslope Park.[4] The mathematician and cryptologist Alan Turing worked there in the latter part of the War on secure speech "scrambling".[5] Today HMGCC researches, designs, develops and produces communications systems, equipment and related hardware and software.[6]

Foreign and Commonwealth Office archives[edit]

Lieutenant General Sir George Erskine, Commander-in-Chief, East Africa (centre), observing operations against the Mau Mau

Hanslope Park gained publicity in 2011 for its extensive collection of Imperial records held as part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's archive of Colonial Office papers, the papers relevant to the issue being referred to as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office migrated archives. These archives produced documentation of the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya and led to compensation to those who had been maltreated at Hola camp, among others.[7]

In 2014, following reporting by the Guardian,[8] a group of journalists were allowed to visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's archives at Hanslope Park, and briefed on the issues relating to the declassification of the archive material, estimated to comprise roughly 1.2 million documents.[9]

The British government has published a report on the scope of the task, including details of a rough timeline for the "weeding" and declassification process.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Note from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Services prior to the Committee visit to Hanslope Park". House of Commons. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Hanslope Park - An Historical Background". Open University. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Hanslope Park: Home of Britain's 'real-life Q division'". The Register. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  4. ^ Vendeville, Geoffrey (16 May 2016), "Keeper of World War secrets tells all", Toronto Star: GT2
  5. ^ Hodges, Andrew (1992) [1983], Alan Turing: The Enigma, London: Vintage, p. 270, ISBN 978-0099116417
  6. ^ HMGCC, retrieved 25 May 2012
  7. ^ Dominic Casciani (12 April 2011). "British Mau Mau abuse papers revealed". BBC News. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  8. ^ Ian Cobain (18 October 2013). "Foreign Office hoarding 1m historic files in secret archive". The Guardian. London.
  9. ^ Katie Engelhart (14 May 2014). "Will the UK Government Ever Release These Secret Files to the Public?". Vice magazine.
  10. ^ "Guidance: Archive records". Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.

Coordinates: 52°06′18.0″N 00°48′32.4″W / 52.105000°N 0.809000°W / 52.105000; -0.809000