Caroone House
Caroone House
Caroone House at 14, Farringdon Street, London, was effectively the Telephone Manager's Office for all international operating staff.

In the 1980s, the division was known as International Telephones (ITp) and the chief executive was Len Bachelor.

To those 'in the know' it was the centre for 'telephone tapping' activities, specifically for international calls. Revelations of this nature abounded in the press from time to time, and the building featured in a 'New Scientist' article in February 1985 when the 'Interception of Communications Act' was being formulated.


| The Building | The Interception of Communications | Update |

Caroone House

The Building

Caroone House was built in the 1970s to provide 9,248 square metres of commercial office space.

Caroone had a lot of engineering staff in it as well as the Personnel department for the large number of international telephonists. It was organised very much along TMO lines. It also contained a lot of phone tap equipment, which was at the time was considered to be very hush-hush. This was not particularly unusual, as the Post Office/British Telecom had always carried out 'Service Obs' to monitor both the quality of lines and the operators' handling of calls. As to the extent of 'telephone tapping' this is a matter of speculation.

"Caroone House," alias the Fleete, 1670 (H. MSS. Com. 12th Rep. V.17).

The Photo

A unique view of Caroone House; unique because you couldn't get a good view of it without a very wide angle lens. This one was taken by M.Knight with a 15mm lens early one Sunday morning sometime in 1982/3.

The Interception of Communications

Very briefly, prior to 1937, a warrant was not deemed necessary for interceptions to take place. In 1937 it was agreed that future investigations should only take place on authority of a warrant signed by the Secretary of State. Further guidelines were laid down in 1951, followed by various reports and White Papers leading to...

The Interception of Communications Act 1985

With certain narrow exceptions, it is unlawful to intercept a communication on a public telecommunication system except under warrant issued on the personal authority of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State may issue a warrant only where he is satisfied that it is necessary:

He must also consider whether the information sought is necessary or could reasonably be acquired by other means.

This act is subject to amendments as the governing powers of  England, Scotland and Wales are varied and as the scope of communications and service providers develop. Current details can be checked with the Home Office.


Site of the Congregational Memorial Hall:
The LABOUR PARTY was founded here on the 27th February 1900. A Blue Plaque was erected in 1985.
British Land Builds Ludgate West

2nd April 2001

Unconditional disposal of Caroone House for 24.5 million to the British Land Corporation plc

August 2005

British Land Builds Ludgate West

"The next phase of the successful Ludgate development, Ludgate West, will provide 11,470 sq m (123,450 sq ft) of offices with some retail. Designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the new building will front both Fleet Place and Farringdon Street, giving a combination of presence, style and aspect. Demolition and site clearance has been completed and substructure works commenced pending a decision to proceed with full construction."


Compiled by Light-Straw 1997-2009