One place I always like visiting with my Dad is
Bletchley Park fifty miles north-west of London, is situated in
beautiful parkland setting with a lake in Buckinghamshire. It was during
WW2, Britain’s best kept secret being home of Station x, and is now a
heritage site and museum, and the birthplace of modern computing and
During WW2 Bletchley Park played a vital role in the war effort, it was requisitioned by the government for use by the Government Code and Cypher School, which was part of Foreign Office in London when they needed a safer home, it was Commanded by Alastair Denniston and became known as Station X, as it was the tenth of a large number of sites acquired by MI6 for its wartime operations, and became home to some of our countries best mathematicians, linguists, crossword experts, and chess champions, most of them eccentric in one way or another, it was said at the time the place was full to overflowing with geniuses, half of whom were thought to be completely mad, and very strange in ordinary life, but somehow they worked well together to break the ingenious cipher codes used by the German military and intelligence, the most famous of which were the enigma codes, which the Germans believed were impossible to break because of their complexity, the odds against achieving a result were over 150,000,000,000,000,000,000, to 1. Yet they succeeded and as a direct result of all their hard work and efforts experts say the war was shortened by two years, and countless lives were saved on both sides of the conflict.
However until 1974 if you asked any of them what they were doing they would have been unable to tell you, as they were bound by the Official Secrets Act. During the war the work done at Bletchley Park was so important and so secret that even people that worked there did not realise the significance of what they were doing, and they were told that if any of them spoke to anyone outside the park about their work they would receive the death penalty.
Alastair Denniston realised just how important it was to break the German codes and let the War Office know what the Germans were up to, so he spent just over a year persuading young mathematicians to join him, amongst them were Alan Turing a brilliant mathematician, who has had a film made about him, and Gordon Welchman, who both were to become key figures not only in winning the war but also in the technological development of the 20 century. The internet stems from Alan Turing’s fundamental ideas.
It is estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 people worked at Bletchley Park at the height of its activity, many huts were built to house these workers and each hut had a dedicated task, huts 6 and 8 were used for breaking the Naval Enigma Code, hut 8 was were Alan Turing worked and has been totally restored, most of the huts are still there today.
The film about Bletchley Park
Inside the Main House