Luxury block boasts of intrigue at the complex close to Westminster and heart of power
By Mark Conrad and Mark Watts | 12 July 2014
Dolphin Square has long been a place of intrigue. Indeed, the complex likes to use its reputation for dark secrets and proximity to the heart of power as a way of promoting the block of luxury apartments in Pimlico, central London.
But its glamorous reputation is set to be sullied by today’s bombshell disclosures that MPs held parties at the apartment block near Westminster where they and other VIPs sexually abused children.
The 12-floor block, which was built over two years between 1935 and 1937, offers its own shopping arcade, cafes, restaurants, gym, swimming pool and spa. Its gardens have a distinctive sculpture of three dolphins.
The complex is well kept and quintessentially English. A short walk from Parliament, it is favoured by MPs, Lords, wealthy businessmen, stars and a wide range of other senior public figures thanks to its privacy, proximity to Parliament and views of the River Thames.
It is also close to Belgravia, the diplomatic quarter of London. Residents were unable to buy their flats, and could only rent them.
Dolphin Square’s Village Magazine boasts about the dark intrigue of the complex. Under a section headed, “The secret residents of Dolphin Square”, it says: “With its close distance to Westminster, it is no wonder that Dolphin Square has been home to the likes of politicians and stars.
“But what you may not have known is that the square has also been home to a number of spies. The world of espionage is embedded into the history of Dolphin Square.”
It refers to, ‘A History of Dolphin Square’, a book by a previous general manager, K. F. Morris, who describes some residents as “members of mysterious government departments”.
The magazine article continues: “A confirmed long-term resident of Dolphin Square was Maxwell Knight – a senior member of the British military intelligence.
“It is believed that he used two flats at Dolphin Square. Whilst he was at MI5, Knight recruited William Joyce who was a fellow tenant at Dolphin Square at the time. Joyce, known as ‘Lord Haw Haw’, was later executed for treason.
“Whispers claim that agents from both sides of the former ‘iron curtain’ (an ideological barrier between the Soviet Union and non-communist states) were once residents of Dolphin Square.
“Another tenant, John Vassall – an admiralty clerk, was exposed as a Soviet spy in 1962 and arrested at his Dolphin Square flat.
“It went almost unnoticed that Vassall was spending £10 a week on his flat in Dolphin Square whilst earning £14 a week.
“With this rich history and range of covert occupants, the previous residents of London’s most mysterious square must be pleased that walls cannot speak. If they did, many secrets may have been exposed.”
But if the panel inquiry that was announced on Monday by Theresa May, home secretary, into child sex abuse at various institutions – including political parties – tries to uncover the truth, then some of the darkest secrets of Dolphin Square may be fully exposed to threaten the very core of the UK establishment.
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