If you’ve ever wanted to share workspace with people whose names are single letters like “M” or “Q,” or whose designations consist of three numbers like “007,” then you’ll want to check into Public Hall. The co-working space is based in London on the site that used to house the old MI6 building. Most likely the intelligence officers that worked there have moved on, but one never knows.
There’s no official record that Westminster’s Public Hall was actually the site of MI6, but there are plenty of rumours and Public Hall isn’t doing anything to refute the claims (who can blame them? It’s a great publicity move). Officially SIS—the official name of MI6—was headquartered in Lambeth’s Century House until 2001. Before that, they were located at 54 Broadway. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have secondary or even secret bases of operation.
Even if this site wasn’t used by MI6, there’s still plenty of history in the 19th-century building. “The main objective was to retain the grandeur of the space while injecting a playful nature—a piece of the past and a step into the future,” says Tatjana von Stein, co-founder of Sella Concepts, the architectural firm behind the new Public Hall. “We added a contemporary layer that merges both worlds with a discreet elegance that can make you feel calm, at home, and inspired to create.”
Public Hall claims the space is a “GovTech focused workspace bringing together a curated community of startups, investors and innovators transforming public services.” Alas, their website says nothing of clandestine operations or top-secret meetings. Public Hall does boast a wellness routine and weekly breakfasts to go along with the event spaces and meeting rooms available in this site.
Public Hall is meant to be a place where you can “grow your businesses in a private studio, or select your resident desk base in our open-plan shared workspace.” And who knows, you might just meet a debonair spy who introduces himself last-name-first.