Night's Black Agents: Dracula Dossier
“The Doughnut” is the nickname given to the headquarters of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a British cryptography and intelligence agency. It is located on a 71-hectare (176-acre) site in Benhall, in the suburbs of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in South West England. The Doughnut houses 5,500 employees; GCHQ is the largest single employer in Gloucestershire. Built to modernise and consolidate GCHQ’s multiple buildings in Cheltenham, The Doughnut was completed in 2003, and GCHQ moved into the building in 2004. It is the largest building constructed for secret intelligence operations outside the United States. The Doughnut was too small for the number of staff at its completion, and a second building in a secret and undisclosed location in the ‘Gloucestershire area’ now also accommodates staff from GCHQ. The Doughnut is surrounded by car and bicycle parking in concentric rings, and well protected by security.
The Doughnut was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2004. The then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, visited the Doughnut in 2008, and praised the staff working there in a speech. The Doughnut has twice been visited by Charles, Prince of Wales, since its opening. Charles was accompanied by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in 2011, on his second visit to the Doughnut. Philip Holmwood, Lord Godalming, member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, regularly visits as he likes to speak with the intelligence heads, directly, in discussing strategy.