The building of Admiralty Arch was just one project in a wider national memorial scheme commissioned in memory of Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) and designed by Sir Aston Webb. The Latin inscription in the arch translates to “In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910”. The flat in the North wing of Admiralty Arch was intended to replace Admiralty House as the new official residence for the First Lords, instead it became the home of the First Sea Lords. During World War I, Admiral Sir William “Blinker” Hall as Director of the Intelligence Division turned Room 40 within the Arch in to the leading British intelligence agency. One of the most pivotal discoveries to come from Room 40 was the interception and decryption of the Zimmermann Telegraph, which was instrumental in encouraging the United States of America to join the Allies and declare War against Germany. Author Ian Fleming also worked in Admiralty Arch and it is widely believed much of the inspiration for his James Bond series came from his experiences here. In 2011 a private firm secured a 250 year lease on Admiralty Arch to transform the historic building in to a world-class hotel.
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