Wednesday, February 5, 2014

pneumatics at 10 Downing St

In reading through the fascinating Talk page of the pneumatic tube Wikipedia entry the other week I came across this intriguing addition from a Wikipedian, from Peter Stothard's Thirty Days: An Inside Account of Tony Blair at War. It was a description of the underground Foreign Office (compared by him to the White House Situation Room):
Six small offices are connected by low corridors, stained white walls and scuffed blue floors that need the attentions of Ecovert and Hetty. The mood is more military than diplomatic. A young team of shift-workers, operating both encrypted computers and antique compressed-air communication tubes, gathers intelligence, turns it into memoranda and tries to make sure that the right people read it.
The Wikipedian proposes that the tubes were used in the 10 Downing Street Complex as late as the first half of 2003. In The Official History of Britain and the European Community, Stephen Wall also writes of a pneumatic tube system which ran between 10 Downing St and the Foreign Office. These stories add to the intrigue of pneumatic tube implicated in the transportation not only of lovers' secrets, but politicians' as well.

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