28th September 2009
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given the green light to the Bletchley Park Trust to work up plans to help transform Bletchley Park into a world class heritage and educational centre it was announced today. Development funding of £460,500 was awarded to help progress their plans.
The HLF first-round pass* means that the Bletchley
Park Trust can now progress to the second stage of the HLF application
process. They have up to two years to submit more detailed plans and
apply for approximately £4.1 million of HLF support that they are
seeking for their £10 million project.
Historians agree that Bletchley Park, top secret codebreaking hub of World War Two, shortened the war by two years saving countless lives. Since 1994, it has been open to the public as a museum. Interest in the site continues to grow with visitor numbers almost doubling from 50,000 a year three years ago to approaching 100,000 this year. Bletchley Park Trust has a thriving educational programme and last year over 6,000 schoolchildren visited the museum. Post-war very little was done to Bletchley Park in the way of maintenance or repairs and the buildings on the site had fallen into a critical condition. English Heritage and Milton Keynes Council recently announced investment of £930,000 to deal with this and restoration work is well underway.
The plans that Bletchley Park Trust is seeking HLF support for are to transform the current museum into a world-class heritage and educational site reflecting the profound significance of the impact its work had on the outcome of war and as a permanent tribute to its unsung intellectual warriors.
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of Heritage Lottery Fund, said "Bletchley Park is an extraordinary part of the UK's heritage. The Heritage Lottery Fund's initial support for the Trust's restoration plans demonstrates our belief that Bletchley's story should be much more widely known and appreciated. We also recognise the importance of preserving the site as a tribute to the men and women who worked there with quiet and tireless dedication during World War Two. Without their dedication, our nation's history might have been a very different one."
Welcoming the award, Simon Greenish, Director of the Bletchley Park Trust, said “The support offered by HLF is a landmark event for the Trust in our quest to provide a permanent future for Bletchley Park that will enable us to work up detailed plans for the education and enjoyment of future generations.
“Since 1992, the Trust has fought fiercely, tirelessly and righteously for this victorious moment; not only for the vital investment needed to move our plans forward but also for this definitive endorsement from the UK’s most prestigious heritage funding body that the nation has confidence, belief and advocacy in the Trust and the restoration project. However, this is not the end, nor the beginning of the end but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.
“As Churchill said at the end of war in Europe: ‘We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task’”
Stephen Fry, British actor and author, said, “The news that Bletchley Park has the initial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is simply wonderful. And yet, what should the Heritage Lottery Fund do if not exactly this? As each year passes it is becoming clearer and clearer just how vital a role in winning the war Bletchley played.
"Three things have become necessary: firstly, an apology to Alan Turing for how the nation he helped preserve turned its back on him and allowed his humiliation, neglect and suicide: secondly, national recognition and citation for all those who contributed to the unique and astonishingly dedicated, imaginative and skilful contribution played there: thirdly the preservation, maintenance and development of the present Bletchley Park house and grounds into a world class site.
"The Prime Minister’s apology on behalf of the nation to Alan Turing last month was the first step, the government announcement in July of Commemorative Badges for Bletchley Park veterans was the second and this momentous news of a Heritage Lottery Fund development grant is the third.”