Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes England was a secret for over 30 years. Once it was Britains best kept secret. The Enigma cipher machine was developed and used here during the second world war to break the German codes. It was very successful and believed to have shortened the war by around two years, saving countless lives.
Today the park is open to the public as a heritage site and museum, and Marilyn and I explored the wide range of exhibitions and learnt how its codebreaking successes worked. More incredible than fiction, the story of Bletchley Park was a desperate race against time. The mission of codebreakers like Alan Turin, was to crack Germany’s coded communications, such as those sent via the German Enigma machine. Bletchley Park was Churchill’s secret passion; he called the codebreakers his “Geese that laid the golden eggs but never cackled” 8.500 people worked at Bletchley Park during the war and all done with amazing secrecy.
Colossus was on view; this was the world’s first semi-programmable electronic computer and developed for Bletchley Park. The size of a small room, it used over 2,500 valves, and the rebuilt version is operational today.
Bletchley Park was the world’s first large-scale codebreaking centre, and there is much to see and do there. Marilyn and I enjoyed our day, visiting the Mansion House, a number of well-staged exhibitions, the fine Cafe, and the codebreaking huts. The Park is situated in a beautiful parkland setting, with a lake, wildlife and an American Garden Trail commemorating the special relationship formed here.
Bletchley Park is online @ www.bletchleypark.org.uk