The Torchwood Institute was a British royally chartered organisation established to investigate matters of the paranormal and extraterrestrial. It developed in both activity and constitution in the years following its formation in 1879, and its primary purpose later became the defence of the Earth against extraterrestrial threat.
The Torchwood Institute was originally established at the MacLeish Estate in Aberdeenshire in 1879, receiving its name from the estate's Torchwood House. It was founded by Queen Victoria following an attempt to take possession of her body by a lupine wavelength haemovariform, who aimed to form the Empire of the Wolf. Realising that Great Britain had to defend its borders from all sides, Victoria proposed an institute to investigate and combat strange happenings. She pledged that the sacrifice of estate owner Robert MacLeish, who was killed during the incident, and the ingenuity of his deceased father, who had left behind the means for the creature's defeat, would live on through the institute. (DW: "Tooth and Claw", TOR: "Children of Earth: Day One")
Funded directly and independently by the Crown, Torchwood was established by order of decree. The Torchwood Charter of 31 December 1879 recognised that Torchwood was not beyond the government. In the document, Victoria stated: "Torchwood is also to administer to the Government thereof in our name, and generally to act in our name and on our behalf, subject to such orders and regulations as Torchwood shall, from time to time, receive from us through one of our Principal Secretaries of state." (TOR: "Children of Earth: Day One") The Doctor was named in the Torchwood foundation charter as an enemy of the Crown. (DW: "Army of Ghosts")
The Torchwood Institute became known to the Central Intelligence Agency due to several mentions in British intelligence transmissions during the 1970s. Information was sporadic and incomplete during this period. Their next evidence of the agency's existence came when several case files were recovered by a CIA agent embedded in the Foreign Service during that time. Intelligence was more plentiful in the 1980s when CIA and British officials cooperated more closely. Several Torchwood documents attained during this time had references to investigations into paranormal and extraterrestrial cases. In the 1990s, the British intelligence agencies classified most of their intel, including all documents relating to the exact type and nature of the agency's activities. According to CIA files at the time of Miracle Day, the agency had little information about Torchwood from that period onwards. (TOR: "The New World")
Further information: Torchwood team
A list of all appearances of the Torchwood Institute (excluding appearances of Jack Harkness).
- Doctor Who:
- Tardisodes: "Tardisode 12"
- Torchwood: (every episode except for "The New World" - "The Blood Line")
- "Lost Souls"
- "Golden Age"
- "The Dead Line"
- The Lost Files:
- "Web of Lies"
- Doctor Who:
- Tardisodes: "Tardisode 3"