Many fans know that Ian Fleming named his fictional spy after real-life ornithologist James Bond, but how many people know where the number 007 originated from?
Well, it turns out that Bond’s licence to kill number was named after a London bus.
Between 1934 and 1945, Ian Fleming lived at 22b Ebury Street, London, which later became a home of villain Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, as well as the starting point of a car chase to Dover.
Ebury Street is directly behind what was then the brand new Victoria Coach Station, which had opened in 1932.
In the early 1950s, when Fleming was forming the idea of Bond, he moved out of London to Kent. However, he would regularly travel back to London by a bus from either Dover or Canterbury.
And the number of this bus route was…007.
Casino Royale was published in 1953, and the rest is history. The bus was taken over by National Express in 1973, and a 007 coach service now runs nine times a day between Deal in Kent and London Victoria Coach station.
Nathan Rushton, the driver of the 007 bus, said: “While James Bond is more likely to be seen behind the wheel of a Bentley, it’s a massive honour to drive the 007 and it certainly attracts a lot of attention.
"People in Kent have always believed James Bond was named after this local service and I personally think the fact Ian Fleming also previously lived so close to the coach station at Victoria proves it – it’s just too much of a coincidence otherwise.”
Sights that can be spotted while aboard the 007 include Canterbury’s city walls, Dover and Deal castles and even France over the English Channel on a clear day.
Nathan added: “Bond is suave, sophisticated and devastatingly cool, so it’s quite funny to think he could have been named after a bus, but then again what could be more quintessentially British?”
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Apartment 0.07 at Twenty Grosvenor Square, London, is named after Ian Fleming's super spy. The 5,863sq ft triplex has a double garage for both your Aston Martins, a lift, games room and private bar.
This Four Seasons residence is part of Finchatton's luxury 37-unit develoment in the heart of Mayfair - handy for a game of bridge at Blades, but a solid 50-minute walk to MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross.
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Photos copyright Simon Brown.
From the Daily Mail
A British spy working in Poland during the height of the Cold War was a 36-year-old man from Devon called James Bond.
Not only did the debonair agent share his name with Ian Fleming's famous creation, but he was also “interested in women” like his namesake, researchers have discovered.
Documents uncovered by investigators at Poland's Institute of National Remembrance show that the man, whose full name was James Albert Bond, arrived in Warsaw on February 18, 1964.
He used the cover of secretary-archivist at the British Embassy during his time in the country.
But his real mission, according to the documents from Poland's communist counter-intelligence agency, was to “penetrate military facilities”.
Researchers at the Institute of National Remembrance said: “James Bond came to Poland on February 18, 1964.
“His official position was secretary-archivist of the British Embassy's military attaché.
“The arrival of such a famous agent did not go unnoticed by the officers of Department II (counterintelligence) of the Ministry of the Interior.
“An operational surveillance case code-named ‘Samek’ was established and he was placed under strict surveillance.
“Bond was found to be talkative but very cautious and was interested in women.
“Contacts with Polish citizens - not found. In October and November 1964, he went with two attaché employees to the Bialystok and Olsztyn provinces to ‘penetrate military facilities’.”
They added: “The observation of the agent’s actions did not go unnoticed, he probably said that there was no chance of gaining valuable information.
“Therefore, on January 21, 1965, James Bond left the territory of the Polish People's Republic.
“After his stay, there were still records and fragmentary documents concerning the observation.”
Choosing espionage as an occupation is probably not the best idea if your real name is actually James Bond!
From the London Evening Standard
Winston Churchill’s “favourite” spy who inspired Bond girl Vesper Lynd in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale was today honoured with a blue plaque.
The tribute to Christine Granville, Britain’s first and longest-serving female special agent, was unveiled at 1 Lexham Gardens Hotel in Kensington, London.
In the 1940s, it was known as the Shelbourne Hotel and was Granville’s London base after the Second World War.
Born Krystyna Skarbek in Warsaw in 1908, Granville joined British Intelligence after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. She completed various missions - including skiing over the snow-bound Polish border in temperatures of -30°C, smuggling microfilm across Europe which proved Hitler’s plans to invade the Soviet Union and rescuing French Resistance agents from the Gestapo.
So essential was she to British intelligence, she was often referred to as Churchill’s favourite spy.
She was also close friends with Fleming, who said she was an inspiration for his character Lynd when he was promoting the book in 1953.
Granville was murdered, aged 37, in London by an ex-lover who was later executed for the crime.
Both her alias and her birth name feature on the plaque.
Anna Eavis, Curatorial Director at English Heritage, said: “Christine Granville served Britain bravely and brilliantly during the Second World War. We hope that our blue plaque will help more people to discover her remarkable story and her connection with London.”
Clare Mulley, author of The Spy Who Loved, Granville’s biography, said: “All too often women in the resistance are remembered for the beauty and courage, while their achievements are overlooked. Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, was one of the most effective special agents to serve Britain during the Second World War, male or female.
From Overdrive magazine.
Long before James Bond was driving Aston Martins in Ian Fleming's books, 007 was the proud owner of a 1930 4 ½-litre supercharged Bentley Blower.
Now, the iconic manufacturer is making 12 "brand-new" cars based on the original pre-war race cars, on which Bond's vehicle was very closely based. In fact, assembly of the very first engineering prototype has just begun, after a year of development. All 12 of the Blowers have already been accounted for, at an unspecified price rumoured to be over £1.5 million each.
If you think that's a high price, consider that the original run of four racing 4 ½-litre Blowers built by Sir Tim Birkin, one of the legendary 'Bentley Boys', have sold for well over that in auction. Birkin went on to make 50 more Blowers between 1929-1931, of which Bond's car was one. The Bentley Blowers are considered one of the Britain's finest racing cars, even though it's only its successor that was actually garnered victories for the brand in endurance racing.
Each new Blower Continuation will be painstakingly crafted by the Bentley Mulliner team from new parts, laser-scanned and faithfully reproduced from a complete teardown of one of the original cars, Blower No.2, as raced by Birkin himself at Le Mans.
And except for some safety upgrades, each new Blower will be an exact replica of the original. Complementing the 3D-scanned parts is information gleaned from the original technical drawings for the Blower from the 1920s, and some of the original toolings as well.
Currently, the Mulliner team and selected artisans have put together a new chassis from heavy-gauge steel, engine with its Amherst Villiers supercharger, radiator and assorted body fitments, including the headlights and fuel tank from steel and copper.
Some of the noteworthy details of the 4.4-litre four-cylinder racing engine which produced a heady 240PS include its aluminium pistons, overhead camshaft, and four-valve with twin spark ignition layout, not to mention the roots-style supercharger sitting proud at the front of the engine.
It was enough to take the 1.9-tonne Blower on to a top speed in excess of 210kmph, though a keen Bond-fan will know the spy has only ever taken it up to 175kmph in Fleming's Casino Royale.
British author William Boyd believes he has discovered the London home of James Bond, after researching the character’s creator Ian Fleming and his famous books for clues.
Fleming wrote a total of 14 Bond books but never revealed exactly where the secret agent lived, other than noting it was in the Chelsea neighbourhood.
But after re-reading all 14 before penning his own Bond continuation novel “Solo” in 2013, Boyd said he suspects the spy lives at number 25, Wellington Square, in Chelsea.
“That’s where James Bond’s flat was,” the writer said in an essay published in the Times Literary Supplement, detailing how he settled on the address.
“Obviously, James Bond is a fictional character and didn’t actually live anywhere,” he added. “However, it is strange how in the case of some fictional characters a kind of reality begins to take over their lives, as if they really did live and breathe, had an actual address and a mortgage.”
Boyd deployed sleuthing skills worthy of Bond himself to hunt down his home.
He began his mission with Fleming’s 1955 novel “Moonraker”, which describes it as “a comfortable flat in a plane-tree’d square off the King’s Road” — a famous street in Chelsea.
He used those details and some crucial coordinates in “Thunderball” (1961) — that the flat was a quick drive up the road to Hyde Park — to narrow the choice down to Wellington Square.
Boyd then examined Fleming’s social circle when he lived in London. The Bond creator was also a foreign editor at the Sunday Times newspaper, and Boyd discovered that a colleague at the newspaper, chief book reviewer Desmond MacCarthy, and his wife owned the flat at number 25, Wellington Square.
The couple were “legendary entertainers and their home became a kind of salon”, according to Boyd, who noted they were also acquainted with one of Fleming’s close friends.
“The circumstantial evidence is compelling. It is highly probable that Fleming went to one or more of the MacCarthys’ parties in Wellington Square,” he added.
Concluding his case, Boyd found the flat matched Fleming’s description of Bond’s home in “From Russia, with Love” (1957) as having “a long big-windowed sitting room”.
The spy’s sitting room is also described as “book-lined” — which Boyd interprets as a nod to MacCarthy, who was a member of the Bloomsbury Group of 20th-century intellectuals.
In a final coincidental quirk, Boyd discovered Wellington Square is a stone’s throw from Bywater Street, where another famous fictional spy lived: John le Carre’s George Smiley.
From The Express
A rare set of James Book books, each inscribed by Ian Fleming, is being sold for £500,000.
Fleming sent presentation copies with witty messages to collaborators, friends and former lovers.
One of those was alleged mistress Sarah Dugdale who received a copy of Dr No from the married Fleming who wrote: "Sarah I'm sure you'll enjoy this, Mabel.” He may have used Mabel as an alias to conceal his extramarital affair.
Fleming sent a copy of Goldfinger to his golfing friends Albert and Cecil Whiting who were fellow members of Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent. The 1958 novel contains a memorable scene in which 007 takes on Auric Goldfinger in a game of golf.
A copy of Casino Royale was inscribed with a reference to the M character. Fleming wrote: "To M, these pages from my memoirs! Ian."
He dedicated a first edition of Live And Let Die to his ex-girlfriend Clare Blanchard, a co-worker at the Kemsley Group of newspapers and early reader of Casino Royale.
The inscription reads: "To Clare who sheds much light. With love Ian 1954."
Fleming sent a copy of From Russia With Love to artist Richard Chopping, who designed the dust jackets.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service was given to Amherst Villiers, who painted the limited edition's title page portrait, while You Only Live Twice was inscribed "to Jonathan from Ian". The identity of the recipient is not known.
The only books not signed by Fleming are The Man With The Golden Gun and Octopussy And The Living Daylights, published after his death in 1964.
The set, amassed over 10 years by a mystery collector, is on sale at the Masterpiece London Art Fair, held by dealer Peter Harrington.
The dealer's Pom Harrington said: "It would be rare to find a collection with so many great inscriptions. It took a decade to build with the collector. He enjoyed the thrill of the chase, and so did we!"
From The Daily Telegraph
When Ian Fleming gave a presentation copy of You Only Live Twice, his James Bond classic, to a close friend, it could not have been a more appropriate gift as an espionage novel. The recipient was the former CIA director Allen Dulles, who is mentioned by name in that book.
The creator of one of the most iconic characters in 20th-century literature added a mock-Japanese inscription that alludes to a plot in which 007 is sent to Japan: “To Celestial Dulles-San from Miserable Fleming-San”. The inscription reflected a friendship between two men who had both held senior positions in their nation’s respective intelligence agencies and who both inspired the other’s work.
Now that copy is likely to excite collectors of Bond memorabilia as it has been acquired by Peter Harrington, leading antiquarian booksellers in London. Such is its rarity that it will be offered for sale at £27,500.
Dulles headed the CIA from 1953 to 1961. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War and, research by Christopher Moran, an expert in US national security, suggests that he was fascinated by Fleming’s fictional spy. While real-life CIA agents tried to copy Bond-style technology and gadgets - including the poison-tipped dagger shoes worn by a villain in From Russia With Love - Dulles in turn influenced Fleming's writing about US intelligence agencies.
In You Only Live Twice, M mentions Dulles by name in complaining that the CIA has stopped revealing information to MI6: “They regard that as their private preserve. When Allen Dulles was in charge, we used at least to get digests of any stuff that concerned us, but this new man McCone has cracked down on all that.”
The two men first met in 1959, dining together in London. They hit it off immediately, and the friendship lasted until Fleming’s death in 1964.
Bookseller Pom Harrington said: “Bond offered popular respect for the CIA's work, especially at a time when the Soviet shooting down of the U-2 Spy plane and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion under Dulles's watch - he had to resign over the latter - led to claims that the agency was ineffective and poorly run.”
He added: “After Dulles's death, the CIA impounded his private papers, finding with some shock that in Dulles and Fleming's correspondence the former revealed much sensitive information to the latter, and that Dulles actively sought Fleming's advice on intelligence matters… The relationship between Dulles and Fleming shows that real intelligence also finds inspiration in spy fiction, for their public presentation, for technologies, and for their heroic self-image. It dispels the notion that Bond is a subject of interest purely to fans and critics of popular culture and not one worthy of study by historians.”
A treasure trove of rare Ian Fleming books and manuscripts has just gone on sale via British design company Mason & Sons.
The collection of first editions - many of them signed by Fleming - includes Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and more.
Aside from the novels, there is a collection of personal correspondence between Fleming and a young Austrian girlfgriend, Edith Maria Thonet, a copy of the address given at Fleming's funeral, lithographs, original advertising artwork and a stunning recreation of the attache case Bond uses in From Russia, With Love.
The incredibly rare items are part of a portfolio called "Bonding with Dad", which Mason & Sons have launched ahead of Father's Day on June 21st. Also for sale are prints and posters, and a wide selection of Bond related clothing.
You can see the full collection at https://masonandsons.com/