The Whoniverse
Home Discontinuity UNIT Files Newbies Guide History Biography Reviews Characters Forum Links

The U.N.I.T. Files

Department C-19 and the Glasshouse

Department C-19

Set up in the 1950s as a "little brother" to MI5, government department C-19 has long been intimately involved with peculiar incidents. Having its origins in the early cold war defence boom, C-19 quickly developed a reputation for covert paramilitary action among the defence community. Covered by the Official Secrets Act, C-19 is still highly classified and few outside of the intelligence community and senior politicians even know that it exists.

Early on, C-19 was given responsibility for the Intrusion Counter-Measures Group, although the documentation we have uncovered is ambiguous as to whether this was before or after the ICMG's only major incident, the Shoreditch Incident. C-19 was probably instrumental in the creation of UNIT in a number of different ways. Undoubtedly, C-19 was pulling many strings behind the scenes as the creation of UNIT was under way. Some of the documentation we have uncovered suggests that they were charged with creating something approximating UNIT as far back as their takeover of the ICMG.

However, their main contribution appears to have been through the Doctor agent programme. Of the 7 distinct agents using the codename of The Doctor, 6 of them have an established connection with UNIT, department C-19, or the events and persons directly leading up to the establishment of UNIT. The remaining agent also ties into this pattern by doing the nearest equivalent possible at the time he was active.

C-19 is the government department to whom the UK branch of UNIT are accountable and funded by (jointly with the UN). As such, C-19 is directly responsible for the various activities UNIT is involved with. Having been ostensibly under the control of Sir John Sudbury since the 1960's, C-19 has continued to increase its influence within the tangled web of Westminster politics. The inside knowledge Sudbury obtained led to his retention in this post under successive governments of varying political viewpoints until his retirement in the early 90's.

There are, however, some very disturbing problems within department C-19. Due to the nature of UNIT's work, they often have leftover artefacts which are far in advance of normal science. Standard policy is to have such items destroyed except in cases where they are impossible to get rid of. This policy is rarely implemented.

The artefacts C-19 picks up have, according to some anonymous sources, ended up in storehouses with extensive scientific personnel and less than scrupulous managers. Some recovered Soviet documents of the highest security classification actually report that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the USSR was bidding for some of these artefacts from an anonymous supplier in the UK. The dates on these documents also note that the supplier stopped being available at the time of the Cheviot Hills Shutdown, an event which shook C-19 and significantly changed the political balance of security connected to C-19 and UNIT. The most likely cause behind this event was a power struggle between factions within C-19; and it would appear that those with more loyalty to their government won out.

This, however, may not have been the end of the matter. The allegations of James Stevens, one time reporter for the Daily Chronicle, in 1972 that the terrorist Victor Magister, commonly known as The Master was running the Glasshouse (see below) along similar lines may well have some foundation in fact. There is some unofficial documentation we have uncovered that a very large stash of the equipment that was almost traded to the Soviet Bloc was found and destroyed in 1989. This documentation suggests that those possessing the equipment were not even directly connected to C-19, UNIT or any secret service, making C-19's handling of such items extremely suspect.

In addition to this, senior figures within the Ministry of Defence have made off-the-record comments to the effect that there is a group within C-19 with total autonomy and severe lack of morality. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these statements, it is not possible to say more, or even to identify who said this.

The Glasshouse

The word Glasshouse is army slang for a military prison, which describes accurately the more disturbing accounts of it's purpose. Originally set up by Sir Marmaduke Harrington-Smythe shortly after the collapse of I.E., the Glasshouse was a private enterprise intended to cater for the needs of injured members of groups such as UNIT and C-19 who could not, for security reasons, be treated in a normal hospital. Dedicated to creating what seemed to be merely a hospital for those injured by things not considered safe for the general public to know about, the Glasshouse had a rather more sinister purpose.

Harrington-Smythe is documented as having desired to create a collection of the more advanced science routinely discovered in the operations of groups such as UNIT. He was also accused of the attempted assassination attempt on Sir John Sudbury in 1970. Apparently a tape with Harrington-Smythe's voice on claimed that C-19 and UNIT were ruining his Glasshouse project. Furthermore, the weapon used in the attempt was a model only available to Glasshouse security personnel. Harrington-Smythe initially claimed that he was framed, before disappearing without trace. The Glasshouse was then taken over by C-19, who ran the institution themselves.

There is, however, a second sordid chapter in the story of the Glasshouse. There is evidence to suggest that the Glasshouse was run by the previously mentioned autonomous group within C-19. Our first piece of evidence comes from a woman called Dorothea Chaplet. Her story was first discovered by the award winning Journalist James Stevens in the course of his investigations into UNIT and department C-19. Recorded on tape, her story starts on the 16th of July 1966. That day, C-Day, she had a nervous breakdown and then spent several months away in the country. When she returned to London, she started suffering from blackouts and eventually ended up in a psychiatric hospital - where she was given shock therapy. At one point she accidentally killed another patient who was trying to rape her.

After this, she was transferred to what was described to her as a radical new centre for psychological treatment, the Glasshouse. Her description of her experience there was blurred by drugs but she remembered being strapped down to her bed, being wheeled through the building and seeing at most one or two patients in wards she passed, being left at one point strapped to her bed unattended with no food or bedpan for three days. Her memories also mention the director of the Glasshouse, who interrogated her about UNIT and doctors. Presumably, this somehow relates to the Doctor agents in some way. She then said that she had been let out. She subsequently started living with James Stevens, until she was murdered in 1972.

Stevens himself claimed to have spent some time in the Glasshouse during 1972. Following Stevens' appearance on BBC3's The Passing Parade, at the time of the Victor Magister trial, he disappeared for a couple of months. He reappeared, coming into the public eye when his infamous Passing Parade stunt happened. Held up as a major example of a hoax, Stevens claimed to have been held in the Glasshouse. He claimed to have escaped from the Glasshouse with a UNIT soldier called Private Cleary.

On live TV, Stevens and a camera crew investigated the building in Evesham which he claimed to have escaped from and to be the Glasshouse. The building was totally stripped of furnishings and had a light layer of dust. Private Cleary left the studio he was being interviewed in, clearly in a disturbed state and Victor Magister, at the time in prison, was produced in response to a writ of habeas corpus. As Stevens had claimed that Magister had been interrogating him in the Glasshouse just hours before the programme, this completely destroyed Stevens' credibility.

But we must ask whether Stevens could possibly have been telling the truth. Could Magister have sanitised the scene and returned to his prison? Certainly it is possible that a building could be totally stripped within a few hours, but removing patients from something like the Glasshouse would require an evacuation plan which went into action the moment Stevens escaped, as well as lots of transport. The vehicles which would have been needed to move all the people and equipment were not in evidence around Evesham that day. It is, however, remarkable that locals noted activity centred around that building as little as a week before Steven's claimed escape, meaning that the amount of dust seen by the crew would not have had time to build up and that there must have been at least some furnishings a week beforehand.

One possible explanation is that Stevens' escape was planned and that the Glasshouse had already been mostly evacuated by that time. This would involve some sort hidden underground transport system and much planning. Whatever the case, Stevens believed his story and it presumably has some basis in fact - although it is difficult to know exactly what is true and what is not. If his story was true, however, the implications are horrendous. A top secret installation run by a covert government intelligence agency being run by a convicted terrorist who is supposed to be in a high security prison raises so many questions that we are not even going to begin to address them.

If you have any other information about UNIT or any persons or incidents connected to it then please E-mail me.

Otherwise you might like to visit my personal homepage.