Category Archives: history

Bletchley Park – It’s neglect is a national disgrace

The BBC are reporting about the neglect of Bletchley Park and the response of the UK’s computer scientists.

More than 100 academics have signed a letter saying the code-cracking centre and crucible of the UK computer industry deserves better treatment.

The letter says Bletchley, in Buckinghamshire, should be put on a secure financial basis like other “great museums”.

“We cannot allow this crucial and unique piece of both British and World heritage to be neglected in this way,” the letter to The Times said.

Bletchley Park — code-named Station X to keep its location from the Germans — and its outstations were responsible for intercepting German radio signals intended for broadcast to the army, navy and air force, and decoding them into meaningful messages. The job was thought to be next to impossible: German encryption was so secure that the chances of decoding it with random guesses were 150 quintillion to one.

Nine thousand staff worked around the clock at the Buckinghamshire site to break the German codes, eventually gleaning enough information to head off critical enemy manoeuvres.

Historians have postulated that, without Bletchley Park, the Allies may never have won the war.

No history of computers is complete without the mention of Station X and in particular the work of Alan Turing. Station X was also responsible for Colossus, one of the earliest digital electronic computers.