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Bombproof luxury penthouse in MI6 HQ goes on sale for £5.5m

A stunning penthouse that was the former MI6 headquarters during the First World War and which recently made an appearance in the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, has hit the market for £5.5 million.

The 4,144 square-foot property, located over the top three floors of the prominent Whitehall Court in central London, boasts three bedrooms, four bathrooms and its very own library.

Sitting just a stone’s throw away from the River Thames, the property was once the home of Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming – the head of MI6 during the First World War and the inspiration for James Bond’s infamous boss ‘M’ in the original novels by Ian Fleming.

A step inside the Victorian property, which sits opposite the Ministry of Defence, reveals two reception rooms and an open plan dining room and kitchen.

The apartment also features a principal ensuite bedroom that comes with wooden flooring and two further ensuite bedrooms

The unique penthouse, which was built in 1887, also provides access to a 53 square foot roof terrace on the eighth floor of the building and has a 24-hour porter and lift service.

A step onto the top floor of the property reveals a separate library while the ninth floor features a walk-in-wardrobe.

The building, which still has the black beams and specially-hardened flooring installed by the Secret Services during the war, is within walking distance from Embankment Underground Station and offers spectacular views across Whitehall and the city skyline.

It is also provides easy access to the Royal Opera House, The National Portrait Gallery and Covent Garden Piazza 

During the early 1900s, the British government grew increasingly concerned about the threat Germany posed on the nation and the former Prime Minister Herbert Asquith ordered the Committee of Imperial Defence to look into the matter. 

After the committee established the Secret Service Bureau in 1909, the organisation was split into Home and Foreign Sections and former naval officer Sir Mansfield Cumming was chosen to lead the foreign section.

At first the Foreign and Home Sections shared an office but Sir Mansfield later decided to move his department to Ashley Mansions in Vauxhall Bridge Road.

In 1911, the Section was moved again to Sir Mansfield’s home in Whitehall Court.

Following the outbreak of the First World War with Germany in 1914, the Foreign Section worked closely with Military Intelligence and in 1916 even adopted the cover of MI1, part of the War Office.

It is believed that the origins of the term ‘MI6’, meaning Military Intelligence, Section 6, began during the Second World War when the abbreviation was adopted as a flag of convenience.  

During his years inside the bombproof luxury apartment, Sir Mansfield, who was born in 1959, would brief his staff on the eighth floor of the building and only the most senior spies knew of the top secret property.  

The former British naval office once wrote about the hidden location in his secret service memos.

In the memo the former MI6 head wrote: ‘Been here five weeks.

‘Absolutely cut off in the eaves from everyone while here and cannot give my address out or be telephoned to under my own name.

‘One of my colleagues asked me if I should object to his moving into a flat next door, but I told him that I thought it would interfere with my privacy and secrecy in my own flat and I told him not to go forward with any such scheme.’          

The flat was so secret, it even had a bogus Post Office address and posed as a shipping company.

The home was also where former spies created invisible ink, pens containing poison and bombs disguised as rats.

Despite the building being used during the First World War to spy on Russians, it has been claimed that the country’s First Deputy Minister, Igor Shuvalov, now owns two homes in the building worth £11.4million.    

The pad, which is now on sale with Beauchamp Estates, was designed by architects Thomas Archer and A Green, who built a range of churches and estates across the UK during the baroque period. 

Gary Hersham, Founding Director said: ‘Who doesn’t love the excitement and glamour of the Secret Services, spies, gadgets and James Bond?

‘Whitehall Court, with its Blue Plaque denoting the founding home of the British secret service is located in the heart of the government quarter and, within it, this unique penthouse, located in the eaves of the building, helps to shine a spotlight on the thrilling history of the Secret Service and the 007-style agents.’

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