Bletchley Park

It’s difficult to believe that it’s less than two month’s since my trip to Bletchley with my friend. Snow was falling and the bitter cold limited my willingness to compose pictures. I did take a few and plan to share them now.

Many will be familiar with the work done at Bletchley during the war, which has been dramatised several times, most recently in The Imitation Game.

The museum promises an interactive look at the code breaking, so it didn’t bode well when the door at the entrance outfoxed me!

The day starts in one of the larger huts which provides historical context to Bletchley’s involvement in the war, an overview of Germany’s Enigma machine an introduction to cipher and code cracking and the growth of Bletchley during the war. I was shocked to discover that at its peak almost 10,000 lived and worked at this estate.

From this first section portable video tours are given and you are set free to wander the grounds. One of the first attraction that you stumble across is the lake outside the manor house. A picture shows the codebreakers iceskating on this – I can’t imagine how cold they were!

Inside the house you get the feel of what it was like for the first few members of the codebreakers. The library is set up as it would’ve been and the ballroom, which was dedicated to recreational activities retains its splendour.

There is also a room dedicated to the history of Bletchley Park and its inhabitants before the war. A further room gives high level detail of Gordon Welchan’s life and contribution during both World War 2 and then latterly for the Americans in the Cold War. I’d never really heard anything about Welchman before; by the finish of the day I felt the recognition that Alan Turing (rightly) receives has in some way overshadowed Welchman’s achievements. Its a shame as there should be room for both. Welchman’s invention of traffic analysis and subsequent application was fascinating and his contribution is so long reaching that much of his work cannot be discussed due to contemporary use.

The grounds did not feel overly artificial and after the manor house there was plenty to explore in further huts and their surroundings. A stroll to the garages resulted in the discovery of a number of vehicles in use during the war.

My final stop of the day was in the room dedicated to ‘the Bombe’ and Turing’s life and work. It was exciting to see the passionate volunteers demonstrating the reconstruction – I cannot believe the amount of noise just one made – I’m sure working in huts holding up to ten was a deafening experience. The room also housed a intricately made sculpture of Turing made out of sheets of slate stacked.

I loved my day at Bletchley there was more to see than i could cover in a day and the site is also home to the National Computing Museum. The entrance pass is valid for a full year so I hope to return – hopefully when the weather is more favourable.

Thanks for stopping by – hope you enjoyed.

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