Heritage Lecture Series 2024

Dr David Abrutat, academic and GCHQ Departmental Historian.

Dr David Abrutat: Lovell’s Spies – GCHQ and the Cold War

26 Sep, 2024

£10 – £12

19:30 – 21:00


A brand-new series of Heritage Lectures in our Space Dome. Explore the full lecture programme HERE.

Discover hidden histories and surprising stories as leading scientists, archivists and historians reveal Jodrell Bank’s 80-year tale of intrigue, resolve and radio waves.

During the operational phase of the Soviet probe launch of Sputnik 1, the British signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, deployed a member of staff to Jodrell Bank. Their role was to intercept transmissions from the spacecraft. As GCHQ’s relationship developed with Jodrell, further research focused on the launches of Soviet reconnaissance satellites, orbital weapons and space probes.

The GCHQ Historian, Dr David Abrutat, in his first ever public talk on the subject, will cover the fascinating Cold War history of GCHQ and the use of Jodrell Bank. This will include details of some recently revealed files retained at Rylands Library, closed by Sir Bernard Lovell at his death.


About Dr David Abrutat

Dr David Abrutat is a former academic and Royal Marines Commando and has long maintained a passionate interest in Second World War military history. He is the Secretary of the Royal Marines Historical Society (RMHS).

His first published work was ‘Vanguard: The Intelligence and Reconnaissance Missions Behind D-Day’ published in May 2019 by Unicorn Publishing. His second book ‘Radio War’ was published just 6 months later. He has just completed the Official History of 42 Commando Royal Marines, which was published in October 2023. His latest project is a biography of Bletchley Park’s wartime Director, Sir Edward Travis. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and the Royal Historical Society.

He has worked at GCHQ since 2002 and was appointed as the Departmental Historian in 2019.


Pre-book your meal at our First Light Café in our stunning new building. Open from 18:00 – 19:15 with the last sitting at 18:50. 


Pie, Mash, Peas & Gravy    £9.95

High quality pies from H.M. Pasties was set up to ‘bring out the good inside’ by employing ex-offenders to make and sell handmade pasties and pies. The social enterprise was born in 2018 with support from the Big Lottery Fund, Forward Trust and the Santander Foundation.

Pie choices:

  • Cheese & Onion Pie Packed with gooey mature cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, and potato (v, halal) 2022 SILVER: The British Pie Awards
  • Steak & Stout Flank steak, bathed in Guinness stout for 24 hours, braised and slow-cooked with carrots, garlic, onions, bay leaf, and thyme, with a rich stout gravy
  • Aloo Saag Spinach and sweet potato, cooked in our own blend of spices with a spicy tomato curry sauce (v, vegan, halal)