I Say Old Chap, What A Handy Guidebook.

By Rob Last edited 166 months ago
I Say Old Chap, What A Handy Guidebook.

Ahh, the good old days of the gentlemen spy: bowler hats, poison-tipped umbrellas, cigarette cases and, best of all, no David Shayler.

What's made us all misty-eyes for the golden years of espionage? The discovery of a KGB 'spy's guide to London' in the latest bundle of MI5 files released to the National Archives.

"Apparently seized by the Germans from a Russian agent captured in Paris during World War II," only to fall, "into the hands of MI5" (doesn't everythng eventually fall into the hands of MI5?)the document makes interesting reading, and some parts even stand up today.

For example: A flat in South Kensington is "definitely an asset" as the area has "a good reputation with the police". We don't think Phil and Kirsty could argue with that.

Meanwhile, suggsted rendezvous points include the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens (very evocative!), the bandstand in Hendon Public Park (it's cliche but we love it), Chelsea Town Hall and the ABC Cafe opposite Ealing Broadway Underground Station (which we're pretty sure isn't there anymore but please put us right if you know different).

And, in related news, more MI5 papers have fuelled the rumours over the political leanings of children's writer Arthur Ransome.

Last Updated 01 March 2005