Our history

We are very proud of our long and distinguished history; from the earliest days as the Government Code and Cipher School in World War One, through the breakthroughs at Bletchley Park during World War Two, and to the complex technical challenges of  today. 


  • Signals Intelligence

    The story of Signals Intelligence 1914-2014

    Feature 12 Apr 2016 Topics: Our people, Intelligence, Our history
    When UK Signals Intelligence began in 1914, the world was a very different place. Read about the dilemma of the Zimmerman telegram, Signals Intelligence trailblazer William Green Swanborough, the intelligence officer and the movie star, and the capture of a spy in Rome in 1945.
  • C Block Oakley

    How GCHQ came to Cheltenham

    News Article 08 May 2015 Topics: Our people, Our places, Our history
    Visitors to GCHQ frequently ask why the famous Bletchley Park code-breakers came to be located in Cheltenham.  The response is usually along the lines of ‘the Cheltenham sites were Ministry-owned property and we had outgrown our previous sites.’
  • GCHQ's Month of Remembrance 2014

    We commemorated our valued 100-year relationship with the Military in November 2014, by publishing a series of stories highlighting the vital role the Military has played in our development. We uncovered stories of those who had worked in Signals Intelligence during World War I and World War II. We...
  • Bletchley Park Commemorative Badge

    Bletchley Park commemorative badge

    Feature 28 Apr 2016 Topics: Our people, Our places, Our history
    On behalf of Her Majesty's Government, GCHQ is delighted to recognise the vital service of those who worked at Bletchley Park and its outstations during World War II, by presenting surviving veterans with a commemorative badge.
  • Sir Brian Tovey KCMG, Director GCHQ from 1978 to 1983

    Sir Brian Tovey KCMG dies at the age of 89

    News Article 31 Dec 2015 Topics: Our people, Our history
    We have learned with deep sadness of the death of Sir Brian Tovey, Director GCHQ from 1978 to 1983. Sir Brian was the first Director of GCHQ not to have served at Bletchley Park.
  • Our archives

    The history of GCHQ and its predecessors goes back nearly 100 years. Take a look at some of our archive material.

Latest Our history updates