Stepping back in time with the Code Breakers at Bletchley Park

Last month, I was going it alone in the Button home as Mike was away working at Milton Keynes. While juggling Baby Button alone is tough (especially when he decides to cut four teeth at once…) Mike came back with some beautiful pictures that I can share – and he went to a place that I really do dream of going to.

Bletchley Park.

Bletchley Park is a place steeped in British history. I can’t imagine what it was like here back in the days it was used for code breaking, back when Alan Turing was creating the machine which changed the war for the British. I was really pushing Mike to go visit, even though the entry fee is a whopping £18.50 (it is a yearly membership fee however) I just knew one of us had to go have a look around.

Some rooms featured images projected onto the walls, to give you that nostalgic feel of being there when people were hard at work. Some rooms had been kept as they were, with fantastic glass windows – and black out curtains, of course. A lot had been renovated to be more modern however, which was a little disappointing.. Some things just don’t need white walls and glass frontages, do they?

The UK’s largest display of Enigma machines is featured at Bletchley as well as a rather rare example of the encoding machine used by the German High Command – one of the very devices that those employed here were working hard to decipher. There are also fragments of one of the Colossus machines (no intact example of a Colossus machine exists) and other radio equipment from that period.

Other things at home here include personal items from those who used to work at Bletchley Park – from larger items such as cars, to smaller more personal items like uniforms. A number of Alan Turing’s belongings are housed here – including his teddy bear. Porgy.

Obviously Mike didn’t take a picture of Porgy, which naturally means I have to visit at some point.

This slate sculpture is absolutely breath taking.

Created by Stephen Kettle, it commemorates a national hero who was prosecuted for his sexuality. Because Alan Turing had a preference for men, he was chemically castrated (injected with the female hormone oestrogen). The media at the time persecuted Alan relentlessly, featuring lurid articles about him which destroyed his career and seemingly wiped clean any accomplishment this man had earned by breaking the code which had claimed a pivotal point in the war.

On the 7th of June 1941, Alan Turing was found dead. He had eaten an apple which was laced with a chemical called potassium cyanide. He was 41 years old.

The coroner ruled it a suicide.

On September 10th 2009, he was given an official pardon.

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