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History Happy Hour

Episode 94: The Spy Hotel

Guest: Stephen Duffy, Security Manager, St. Ermin's Hotel

Sunday, March 6, 2022

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This week on History Happy Hour: It’s been called “London’s House of Spies,” and suffice it to say, that for much of the twentieth century, St. Ermin’s hotel was at the epicenter of British intelligence efforts through two world wars and the subsequent Cold War. Used by various intelligence agencies during World War II, the top floor became the home of the Secret Intelligence Service’s Section D, while one floor below, the Statistical Research Department-the precursor to the Special Operations Executive-got its start. Later, at the height of the Cold War, traitors from the infamous Cambridge Five could be found at the hotel’s Caxton Bar sharing secrets with their Russian handlers. Even today, it is believed by many, agents of the world’s security services make their way to the hotel to enjoy its luxury surroundings and quiet corners.

Join Rick and Chris this week as we discuss the fascinating history of this luxury hotel with Stephen Duffy, the hotel’s present-day head of security and a keen student of St. Ermin’s incredible espionage history.

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