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BNPS_MI5AtBlenheim_05.jpg
BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)<br />
Pic: BlenheimPalace/BNPS<br />
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Pictured: Queen Mary and the 10th Duke(third right) and Duchess of Marlborough (forth right)on the steps of Blenheim Palace during her visit to the temporary MI5 HQ in May 1944<br />
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Rarely seen photos have been released to mark 80 years since historic Blenheim Palace became the top secret wartime headquarters of MI5.<br />
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Sir Winston Churchill's birthplace was chosen as the temporary location of Britain's secret intelligence agency in September 1940 after its London offices were destroyed in the Blitz.<br />
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One of the photos from the Blenheim archive shows trucks arriving at the residence in Woodstock, Oxon. Another reveals pre-fabricated huts were set up on the Great Court outside the palace as temporary offices.<br />
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During the war, the Great Hall was filled with filing cabinets and the Long Library became a typing pool. Part of the palace's upper floor was also transformed into a communications centre, which included a translation service and reference library.<br />
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As many of the records held in London had been lost, the work done at Blenheim to rebuild their intelligence documents was so vital Churchill called almost daily to see how things were progressing.