The Secret Intelligence Services (SIS) gathers foreign intelligence for the government. Its origins date back to 1909 when it was known as the Secret Service Bureau. SIS moved their headquarters from Century House in Lambeth to the new site at Vauxhall Cross in 1995.
The developers, Regalian Properties, acquired the site in 1983. Following a competition, architect Terry Farrel was appointed to deveop a design for the site-originally an urban village. In 1987 the developers approached the government and in 1988 Margaret Thatcher approved the purchase of the building for SIS. The design evolved into an office block with extensive modifications to meet the needs of SIS.
The site and immediate surrounds of the SIS building are of considerable historical interest. In 2010, some mesolithic timbers (~6000 years old) were found on the Thames foreshore in front of the SIS building. These are the oldest timber foreshore structures ever found on the Thames and date from a time when the area was very differnt -marshy and not like the tidal Thames we are now familiar with.
During excavation of the site, evidence of previous use was uncovered including 17th Century glass kilns.