The video is a short extract from the recent BBC Four Storyville production Toffs, Queers & Traitors – The Extraordinary Life of Guy Burgess. Stewart Purvis – who created and guides the Spies of Hampstead walk – had a major role in the programme. As did Stewart’s co-author and fellow Spies of Hampstead guide Jeff Hulbert.
Short read: The KGB in NW3
Long read: There were once so many KGB spies in Hampstead that some lived just a few doors apart. Spy authors and broadcasters Stewart Purvis and Jeff Hulbert have worked out from MI5 files who lived where during the Cold War and the links between them. The first half of ‘the Hampstead Spies’ takes you to the homes of the spies and you’ll see files about people like Hampstead boy Kim Philby. The second half brings in Hampstead folk who knew and sometimes suspected the spies: George Orwell, Ian Fleming, even a man called Goldfinger. There’s a stop devoted to John le Carre and even Brad Pitt gets a walk-on part from a spy movie he made in Hampstead. But the real thing is better than any spy thriller. The walk is guided by Stewart Purvis or Jeff Hulbert, co-authors of Guy Burgess, The Spy Who Knew Everyone, which the New York Review of Books called “an excellent read”. Stewart, Jeff and the walk were featured in a BBC TV spy documentary ‘Toffs, Queers and Traitors’ in November 2017.
THE SPIES OF HAMPSTEAD – THE PRACTICALS
The Spies of Hampstead takes place on Sunday, December 29 at 2.30 pm.
To go on the walk meet Stewart or Jeff just outside the exit of Belsize ParkTube.
Here’s Stewart giving a quick preview of the walk.