About GCHQ Scarborough

Last Updated: 12 Sep 2016
Since 1914 GCHQ Scarborough has conducted Signals Intelligence in support of both the defence of the United Kingdom and of our armed forces.

GCHQ Scarborough is situated at Irton Moor in North Yorkshire.

The history of the original station dates back to 1912 when the Royal Navy established a Wireless Telegraphy station in the Scarborough area. However, it relocated to the present site in 1943. 

The site commemorated its centenary throughout 2014, and we believe it to be the longest continuously-serving site for Signals Intelligence (Sigint) in the world.

As an outstation of the main GCHQ site in Cheltenham, GCHQ Scarborough supports the same intelligence aims. It works to protect the UK and its citizens from individuals, groups, and countries who wish to do us harm or damage us financially. Intelligence produced at GCHQ Scarborough keeps our deployed forces safe, and helps law enforcement agencies prevent terrorism, and serious and organised crime. It also provides facilities for research and development in the communications field.

Over two hundred people work at the station, forming part of the overall GCHQ workforce. GCHQ Scarborough is very much part of the local community and does a variety of charitable works to support local causes.

GCHQ's interception activities are regulated by UK legislation, parliamentary oversight, and independent Commissioner review.


GCHQ Scarborough Entrance
GCHQ Scarborough Entrance. ©GCHQ 2016


Pale pink water lilies in bloom float in the pond; a linear building with curved entrance behind
©GCHQ 2016



The Royal Navy established a Wireless Telegraphy Station at Scarborough in 1912. Since 1914 it has conducted signals intelligence (Sigint) in support of both the defence of the United Kingdom and of our armed forces.

A short history of Sigint in Scarborough


GCHQ Scarborough in the 1970s
GCHQ Scarborough in the 1970s