Bletchley Park jaunt#

Posted 2023-02-26

The conceivers of the now famed GC&CS World War II code breaking operation aspired to a location where a team could labor unnoticed and undisturbed. They knew also the team would grow -- perhaps significantly -- and the location must accommodate such growth but preserve the "unnoticed and undisturbed" objective. The location also needed to be easy and inconspicuous for its various experts and staff to travel to and enable communications to those who awaited the deciphered intelligence. One of the notions deemed optimal for this objective was a vacant and sizable country estate. Bletchley Park was vacant and had been recently acquired by a real estate speculator, and it fit the other requirements extremely well. Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, head of the SIS, discretely purchased it in 1938, in his own name and with his own funds. An epic that was central to allied victory was begun, as was an opportunity for Alan Turing to apply himself to challenges with inherent relationships to his Universal Machine (later dubbed by others the universal Turing machine). diagram of mansion house use in 1939 Bletchley Park, its personnel, and their phenomenal contributions to the war effort were top secret, so it was deliberately kept a secret after the war. Fortunately for history and the public, proponents of telling and preserving its story persevered, and the estate itself is today an excellently conceived museum to the code breaking operation.

Similar to the war-time commute taken by some of the staff, I could board a train in London -- Euston Station -- and take a one-hour ride through a rolling countryside and then take the short walk -- about 5 minutes -- from the Bletchley train station to the estate.

Along the sidewalk from the train station, it was a pleasure for the winter weary to see crocuses and daffodil showing their color. crocus daffodil yellow crocus One arrives at the most recent part of the compound, where post-war buildings of the GC&CS and successive government agencies through the years dominate the view. All are now part of the museum and trust. newer compound buildings The original heart of the operation was the mansion (see the bulletin board diagram above for what was housed in various parts of the mansion in 1939). mansion mansion skyward view The Communications Section occupied the nicely-restored billiard and ball rooms, where the noise of the Section's teleprinters is said to have dominated. billiard room ballroom archway In huts 10A and 11, the now famous "bom", conceived and designed by Turing on the basis of the precursor Polish machine, is the focus of innovative exhibits, some interactive, engaging all of one's senses and intellect. the bom

Fairly early on, I turned off my camera app and simply enjoyed the well conceived exhibits and the history brought to life here.

Read more about this thriving museum and trust, its numerous programs and outreach at its own site. The article at Wikipedia also provides great background.

The pleasant train ride had us back at Euston Station in London in an hour -- in time for dinner. Euston Station

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