Thoughts, quirky insights and experiences in my meandering life.

Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers

This is the pretty part, the rest of the buildings are very utilitarian, dark, dingy, musty and packed with people, three quarters women.

It was an amazing day yesterday, exploring Bletchley Park. During the war it hummed with activity. At the height of the work 10,000 people worked there. Three shifts, midnight to 8 am, 8 am to 4 pm, 4 pm to midnight. Non-stop work.

Women were strongly encouraged to do war work so that young men could go off and fight, which accounts for the high numbers of women at Bletchley. There was a great sense of camaraderie, but no one knew what was going on in any other hut than their own. This was a purposeful strategy of those in charge. Each person signed the Official Secrets Act as their first action upon arriving at Bletchley, even though they did not yet know what they were going to be doing.

Reminds me of Dad’s office and his cabinets of reference cards.

These pictures are all from the introduction to Bletchley Park before you go and explore the huts and the grounds. I think they speak very well to the work that went on there, a very good overview. There is much more information about the machines they developed and Colossus that Turing had such a big part of. They were very clever, those women and men, solving the problem of high volumes of messages with machines, thinking creatively, putting messages into context by cross referencing with other intelligence. It was said several times that the work done at Bletchley shortened the war by 2 years, and after being there I can understand why. If you are planning a visit to Britain I would highly recommend this, just an hour from London by train, the train station is minutes from the park, and the Cabinet War Rooms. Together they give a very good history of the war from the British and Allies perspective.


The journey to Bletchley


A Coterie of Cousins, Siblings and Spouses


  1. brian

    Thanks for that Maggie.Most interesting

  2. Glen

    Thanks Maggie – I read every word. I loved The Imitation Game and have always been interested in WWII code breaking and the origins of modern computing, which are inexorably linked.

    • Linn

      I was going to say Dad would love this but here he is already! I’m really interested in this stuff too, thanks so much for sharing your photos. I would love to go sometime.

      • Maggie

        When you do give yourself a whole day. We were there 6 hours and did not see it all.

    • Maggie

      There were so many books available in the gift shop. I wouldn’t have known how to choose one. So I focused on those who listened to the messages in far flung places. They describe, with a working machine, how the Bombe machine worked. Lots of interactive displays. So much better than the museums of our youth.

  3. Gail

    Thanks for that Maggie

    • Maggie

      Hi Gail,
      I am glad you liked it. It was quite a day.

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