I’ve wanted to visit Bletchley Park for years. It is where thousands of people toiled twenty-four hours a day to decipher enemy radio messages during the second world war, in absolute secrecy. It is where some of the brightest minds of a generation put their considerable mental skills to an incredibly valuable purpose. It is also where modern computing was born, notably through the work of Alan Turing and others.
So I was very pleased to be invited by my friend James to visit Bletchley as part of his stag weekend. After years of neglect, and in the face of demolition, the park is now being extensively restored. A new visitors’ centre will be introduced, and more of the huts opened up to the public. I have no doubt that these features will improve the experience overall, but there was a feeling of Trigger’s Broom as I looked over the huts closest to the mansion house. Never open to the public before, they looked good with new roofs and walls. But perhaps a little too clean.
And it really is only the huts closest to the house that are being renovated. Others are used by the neighbouring National Museum of Computing, small companies and a huge number are still derelict. Whilst I hope that the remaining huts will be preserved, it would be great if visitors could see the huts in their current dilapidated state too. The neglect of Bletchley Park is part of its story, and I would love to explore the derelict huts as they are now. I would love to shoot inside them – so many ideas in my head for that!
Most of the people working there were aged between eighteen and twenty-one, so you can imagine how much buzz and life there was in the place, despite the graveness of the work being carried out. Having visited the park as it is today, I wish that I had been able to visit it during the war. To see people walking around the huts, efficiency and eccentricity hand-in-hand, to know the import and intellect of what was being carried out, and how it would produce the technology that we all rely on every day, would have been incredible.Pin It