Queen Victoria founded the Torchwood Institute to battle all things unknown that pose a threat to the crown. First and foremost, The Doctor, who the Queen considers a threat to the globe after her dealings with him and a werewolf at the Torchwood Estate. Torchwood's major goal was to stop the Doctor's interference with Earth's affairs. Torchwood also collected every single piece of Alien tech that they could get their hands on.
Torchwood's origins date back to an incident involving the Tenth Doctor, Rose Tyler and Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. At Torchwood House in Scotland, a monastic group called the brethren stored a Werewolf, which menanced the countryside, and the Queen. Ultimately, and with the monarch's assistance, the Doctor and Rose killed the werewolf. Victoria knighted the Doctor and Rose for their service, but then banished them from the kingdom, declaring the Doctor in particular a danger to the Empire. Now made aware of the reality of alien/supernatural life forms, Victoria ordered that an organization be created to protect the British Empire from both the Doctor and threats such as the werewolf. Victoria named the organization the Torchwood Institute, after the location of the werewolf encounter. She issued a royal decree establishing the Institute on 31st December, 1879.
In 1889, agents Eliza Cooper and Robert Lewis attempted to capture the the Doctor when they realised he had been stranded in London. They came across H. G. Wells with the Doctor, and interrogated him about all he knew about the man. Wells leads them to the TARDIS, which disappears, apparently leaving the Doctor behind for them to apprehend. The man was however revealed not to be the Doctor when he was dissected. After discovering a spacetime Rift in Cardiff, Queen Victoria founded a third branch of Torchwood (after the first and second in London and Scotland), Torchwood Three. In 1899 Cardiff Jack Harkness was recruited by two of this branch's operatives, Alice Guppy and Emily Holroyd to become a freelance agent for the Institute. His first mission was to apprehend an intelligent blowfish alien; he succeeded, but was greatly disturbed when Guppy summarily executed the creature before his eyes. He continued to work for Torchwood largely against his will, having been informed by a fortune-telling tarot card reader that he would have to wait more than a century before seeing the Doctor again, during which time he needed money to live. He continued to work for the organization over the decades that followed, although he remained disturbed by the Institute's callous disregard for alien life forms. At some point, Victoria also established Torchwood India to collect all things alien in the British Raj.
In 1901 Alice Guppy and Charles Gaskell dug up a future version of Jack Harkness that had been taken from the 21st century and buried in 27AD Cardiff. He told them to freeze him in the cryo-chambers so he could defeat his brother Gray. Subsequently, Jack's future self resided in the cryo-chambers even as his younger self continued to work nearby. Guppy reportedly died sometime thereafter.
In 1906 Eliza Cooper and Robert Lewis used a machine they commissioned Professor Alexander Hugh to build to travel to another planet thousands of years into the future. Neither Cooper nor Lewis returned; the former remained on the planet while the latter was killed. Professor Hugh was returned home by the Doctor.
In 1918, Torchwood Three investigated ghost sightings in a hospital in Cardiff. As present and future blended, they caught glimpses of 2009. At this time they had a team of 5, the leader being a man called Gerald Carter and, based on a photo, were very possibly already based out of the Hub. They already had equipment capable of detecting disturbances in Time.
Circa 1919, Harriet Derbyshire, one of the investigators of the hospital sightings and in only her mid-20's, died in action.
Harkness continued to work as an operative throughout the 20th century, For reasons unknown, he was put in charge of a group of soldiers in 1909 and in the 1920s worked undercover with a travelling circus in pursuit of the Night Travellers , though it would appear the latter mission was unsuccessful as he never found them until 80 years later.
In 1923 Torchwood found evidence that an alien race called the Pyroviles invaded Earth at Pompeii in 79 AD This is because of a human professor called Livesy-Smythe ( Captain Jack's Monster Files, referencing
In 1924, Torchwood sent Jack Harkness to India to close down the branch there before the fall of the Raj "The Boss" ran the overall Torchwood in the mid-20th century.
By 1953 the London branch was influential enough that London Police feared its involvement when investigating the strange occurrences provoked by the activities of an alien entity known as The Wire
In 1965 the government asked five highly ranked officers, including Jack Harkness, to give twelve children to the 456 as a gift. It was decided that the children would be taken from a Scottish orphanage as they wouldn't be missed. Despite eleven children being taken, Clement MacDonald managed to escape.
Circa 1996, Torchwood recovered a Jathaa sunglider and reverse-engineered weaponry from it.
At the end of 1999, Harkness became the leader of Torchwood 3 when one of its members, Alex Hopkins, killed the rest of the team and himself after being driven insane by an alien artefact that revealed the events of the coming years.
In 2006, ghost all over the world started to appear before their loved ones. When the Doctor and Rose arrived on Earth they started to investigate the Ghosts, which led them to be captured by Torchwood. It turns out that Torchwood was helping the Ghost crossover as a byproduct of their experiments. The experiments were being conducted on a weak part of reality that a null-void ship broke through at. Little did Torchwood know was that Cybermen had infiltrated their organization and were pushing the experiments to there limit. Once that happened the ghost who were all over the world were able to cross-over to our world. It turns out that the ghosts were not really ghosts at all but Cybermen from an alternate reality. Now, thanks to Torchwood, there were 5 million cybermen that were in key positions around the world. Meanwhile in the basement of the facility the Null-ship opened and four Daleks from the Cult of Skarro emerged from it.
Captain Jack's Torchwood
Torchwood Three, located in the Hub underneath Cardiff, Wales, was a branch of the Torchwood Institute. It was created to monitor the Cardiff Rift. Following the Battle of Canary Wharf it was the only major branch of Torchwood. After the events at Canary Worf, Captain Jack took over the Torchwood project to help prevent any alien attacks on Earth.
In 1901, an older version of Jack Harkness was discovered buried alive below Cardiff, having been left there in 27 AD. In order to prevent a paradox, this older Jack, at his request, was cryogenically frozen, his body kept in storage (unbeknownst to his younger self or later Torchwood staff) until 2009.
By 1913 work on a Rift Manipulator had started, in the hopes of minimising the constant danger posed by the rift. During 1913, the Institute noticed increased Rift activity, and considered this more justification to commence work on the Manipulator. The increased activity came from "foreshocks" of the use of the Manipulator itself, travelling backwards in time from the widening of the Rift, causing the fracture of the Rift in the early 21st century. Ironically, the Manipulator itself (in the future) had caused the widening of the Rift.
In 1918 Torchwood Three, under the command of Gerald Carter, already had access to sophisticated cryogenic suspension technology. Gerald Carter and another operative, Harriet Derbyshire investigated supposed hauntings (in fact time shifts from the future) at St Teilo's Hospital. Derbyshire shortly afterwards died in action in an unrelated case.
On New Year's Eve 1999, Torchwood operative (and possibly the team leader) Alex Hopkins killed his entire team, bar the immortal Jack Harkness. He claimed that he was killing them to "protect" them from the 21st century. Alex made the grim joke that he had given Jack command and then committed suicide. Jack Harkness was left with the job of recruiting a new team and leading it.
Shortly thereafter, Harkness discovered two humans whom the rift had returned and had been locked away in the Hub's cells, since Torchwood had deemed them unable to reintegrate into society. He founded a facility on the island of Flat Holm to care for them and others who were later returned. Subsequently, he chose not to inform certain members of his staff. In the 2000s he recruited civilians Toshiko Sato and then Owen Harper in an attempt to reform Torchwood into a more humane organisation inspired by his admiration of the Doctor. He also employed Suzie Costello, and with much persuasion at first, took in Ianto Jones, a survivor of the Battle of Canary Wharf who had worked for Torchwood One. During her first years at Torchwood, Toshiko Sato developed Rift equations, which were to be used as guidelines to more safely operate the Rift Manipulator.
2007 was an eventful year for Torchwood Three. Agent Suzie Costello committed a series of murders with an alien artefact, the Life knife, in order to test out the Resurrection gauntlet. She committed suicide when her activities were discovered. Jack took in Gwen Cooper, a Cardiff Police Constable who had helped him to solve the case. As well as internal distrust, at times, of Jack himself, Torchwood Three subsequently braved an attack by Lisa Hallett, a partially converted Cyberman who had survived their defeat at Torchwood One.
Tosh had meanwhile begun to experiment with using the Rift Manipulator. With Tosh and Jack transported to 1941 Cardiff, Owen and Ianto, out of desperation, used the manipulator and Tosh's Rift equations to return them. This would have wide-ranging consequences, as the use of the Manipulator made the Rift splinter and caused temporal shifts to occur all over Cardiff and the Earth. The team revolted against Jack and shot and killed him and the ancient demon Abaddon was released from the Rift, briefly causing havoc in central Cardiff before Jack defeated him. Directly after this incident, Jack suddenly and without warning left Torchwood, when the Doctor came to refuel at the rift and Jack chased him off-world. During his absence the team learned to work more independently, though they were unable to help fight the takeover of the world by the Master, as he had sent them on a wild goose chase to the Himalayas. Jack returned some months later, finding that Gwen had taken over as team leader.
Also around 2008, the Rift started returning more and more humans who had previously been taken away in negative rift spikes. In the words of Jack Harkness, "it is almost as if the rift is trying to correct its mistakes". Victims continued to be transferred to the Flat Holm facility. Another trend in recent years was an increase in Weevil activity.
Other notable events in 2008/9 were Torchwood Three stopping a Weevil fighting ring uncovering an alien sleeper cell unilaterally closing down an official research facility and stopping a powerful being, a personification of Death
In late 2008/ early 2009 UNIT medical officer Dr Martha Jones came in briefly in order to provide support. Very shortly after her arrival, Torchwood doctor Owen Harper died and came back to partial life via another Resurrection gauntlet.This lead to Doctor Jones staying with Torchwood somewhat longer than anticipated. Torchwood Three later lost two members of the team in 2009. Owen Harper was trapped in a nuclear meltdown that decomposed his already dead body and Toshiko Sato died of a shot to the stomach.
In mid 2009, Torchwood Three was called upon by former Prime Minister Harriet Jones via subwave network along with Sarah Jane Smith and Martha Jones in an effort to contact the Tenth Doctor after Earth was transported into the Medusa Cascade by Davros, during the Dalek invasion of 2009. Jack, Gwen and Ianto used the Rift Manipulator in conjunction with Sarah Jane's supercomputer Mr Smith to amplify the signal of Martha's superphone to break the signal barrier and reach the Doctor. Jack left the team behind to assist the Doctor, and Gwen and Ianto were saved from Dalek extermination by the time-lock invented by Tosh before she died. The two were later called upon by the Doctor himself to help assist his TARDIS via Rift Manipulator in its effort to carry the Earth back to the normal orbit regular orbit.
In September 2009, the entire Torchwood Three Hub was blown up by the government in a ploy to kill the Torchwood team in relation to the 456 crisis. The bomb was inserted into Jack's abdomen. When it detonated, Jack was blown apart. Gwen and Ianto luckily escaped. The explosion was reported on the news and it left a gaping hole where the Hub was. The surviving members eventually managed to face the 456. Ianto Jones was killed by a virus released in Thames House, and after the 456 were defeated at the cost of his grandson, Jack left Earth. This left Gwen Cooper the last remaining member on Earth.
The ruins of the Hub and the technology within were choice pickings for various agencies. British billionaire Joshua NaismithItalian American billionaire Angelo Colasanto, and the British government all successfully pilfered its ruins for alien artefacts. Due to the recession, the British government also sold many at high prices internationally.
Jack returned to Earth when the word "Torchwood" was emailed across the world, coinciding with the start of the "Miracle Day" phenomenon. He used malware to expunge evidence of Torchwood from the Internet, and went to the CIA hard copy records to clear the last of the information. Despite the Torchwood Institute being known to the UK government and UNIT, it appears the CIA was not aware of the organisation, as the deletion of the files caught the attention of agents Rex Matheson and Esther Drummond. In Wales, Matheson tracked down Cooper -- now living undercover with her husband and daughter -- and also made contact with Harkness, and he used America's post-9/11 policy of extraordinary rendition to extradite Jack and Gwen to the United It turned out that an organisation known as The Families had decided to hunt down everyone with knowledge of Torchwood, including Rex and Drummond, Rex and Esther had no choice but to become members of the new Torchwood team. They were initially based in Washington, D.C., then moved west to Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
When the CIA discovered a null field generator that allowed Angelo Colasanto to die (the only death recorded during the Miracle), Gwen was deported to the United Kingdom by Allen Shapiro after Jack initially refused to tell Shapiro what it was. Shapiro also attempted at this time to put Torchwood under direct command of the CIA. Jack and Esther went on the run as they escaped with the generator, which Jack considered too dangerous for humanity to use, and Rex rejoined the CIA in order to aid Jack from the inside. In Swansea, two months later, Oswald Danes demanded to see Jack after Danes had new leads on the Miracle and effectively became a member of the team. The Torchwood team reformed and were led to Buenos Aires and Shanghai, where the Blessing lay.
Torchwood 1 - (Closed)Eliza Cooper (disappeared 1906) Robert Lewis (disappeared 1906)
- Yvonne Hartman (Director of the Torchwood Institute, deceased circa 2006)
- Doctor Rajesh Singh (deceased circa 2006)
- Adeola Oshodi (deceased circa 2006)
- Matt Crane (deceased circa 2006)
- Gareth Evans (deceased circa 2006)
- Lisa Hallett (underwent partial cyber-conversion in 2006, later deceased)
- Andrew (deceased circa 2006)
- Ianto Jones (joined Torchwood 3 following the Battle of Canary Wharf; deceased circa 2009)
- Rupert Howarth
Torchwood 2 - (Status Unknown)
Archie (status unknown)
Torchwood 3 - (Closed in 2009)
Surviving staff of Torchwood Three would later represent just "Torchwood", no numerical designation.
- Captain Jack Harkness (leader of Torchwood; de facto leader of the Torchwood Institute following the Battle of Canary Wharf, hired circa 1899; effectively resigned circa 2010)
- Gwen Cooper, (liaison with regular police, temporary leader during Jack's absence, hired in 2007)
- Philip Lyle (active circa 1897)
- Alice Guppy (circa 1897-1901)
- Emily Holroyd (circa 1897)
- Charles Gaskell (circa 1901)
- Gerald Carter (leader circa 1918)
- Harriet Derbyshire (physicist; died circa 1919)
- Douglas Caldwell (active circa 1918)
- Lydia Childs (active circa 1918)
- Charles Quinn (active circa 1918)
- Tilda Brennan (leader; died circa 1941)
- Llinos King (active circa 1941)
- Greg Bishop (active, vanished circa 1941; returned, died circa 2009)
- Rhydian (active circa 1941)
- Kenneth Valentine (active mid 20th century)
- Lucia Moretti (active 1968-1977, deceased circa 2006)
- Charles Cromwell (active 1945 to 1974)
- Alex Hopkins (leader; deceased 31st December 1999)
- Several unidentified members of Torchwood Three were killed by Hopkins on 31st December 1999.
- Suzie Costello (weapons specialist, second-in-command prior to death, deceased circa 2007, though later temporarily revived.)
- Martha Jones (medical officer, temporary, circa 2009)
- Owen Harper, (medical doctor, second in command; deceased circa 2009)
- Toshiko Sato, (computer specialist, reverse engineering of alien artefacts; hired circa 2004, deceased circa 2009)
- Ianto Jones, (administrator and general support, moved from Torchwood One, hired circa 2007, deceased circa 2009)
- Eric Lawson (circa 21st century, Alternate Universe)