Spymasters: Tudor Surveillance and its Legacy

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Explore the Elizabethan secret service and its impact on the surveillance networks of today, with SJ Parris, Professor Stephen Alford, Alan Judd and Gordon Corera.

This event will take place in the British Library Theatre. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical) or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Physical ticket bookers will also be sent a bonus link to the online event. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

MI5, the security service of the UK, has on its crest red roses in honour of Sir Francis Walsingham, the Elizabethan spymaster and statesman. Also featured is a crowned portcullis, the Tudor royal symbol that is now an emblem of parliament. The inference is a connection between modern intelligence agencies and the highly effective surveillance network established in the 16th century.

Join us for an evening of conversation, as we explore the Elizabethan secret service and look at its impact on the sophisticated and technologically advanced surveillance networks of today.

Stephen Alford is Professor of Early Modern British History at the University of Leeds. He is the author of six books on the Tudor period, including Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I (2008) and The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I (2012). He is currently writing a book about Sir Robert Cecil.

Gordon Corera is a Security Correspondent for BBC News where he covers espionage, terrorism, cyber security and other related issues. He is also the author of a number of books related to intelligence and spies including: MI6: Life and Death in the British Secret Service and Russians Among Us.

Alan Judd is the award-winning author of two biographies and fifteen novels, three of which have been filmed. Five of his novels are spy fictions in the Charles Thoroughgood series. His most recent, A Fine Madness, is about Christopher Marlowe, poet, playwright and probable spy. He is also the author of The Quest for C, the authorised biography of the founder of MI6, Mansfield Cumming.

Stephanie Merritt is the author of twelve books, including the Sunday Times Number One bestselling historical crime series (written as S.J.Parris) featuring Elizabethan heretic and spy Giordano Bruno. She is also a critic and feature writer for the Observer and the Guardian, and is a regular panellist on Radio 4’s Front Row and Saturday Review. Her most recent Bruno books are Execution and the novella collection The Dead of Winter.

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Name: Spymasters: Tudor Surveillance and its Legacy
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546