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Cash Lifeline For Bletchley Park

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the hanging-on-by-a-thread dept.

The Almighty Buck 63

Smivs writes "Bletchley Park, the home to the allied codebreakers during WWII, and a major computing heritage centre, has been given a financial lifeline, reports the BBC. The grant of £330,000 will be used to undertake urgent roof works as the rooms of the Grade II-listed mansion, replete with painted ceilings, timber panelling, and ornate plasterwork, are at risk because the roof has been patched rather than renovated so many times during the 130 years of the mansion's history. The donation follows efforts to highlight the dilapidated state of the huts and other buildings at Bletchley. Discussions are also in progress on a further three-year, £600,000 funding programme for the historic site. 'Bletchley Park played a fundamental role in the Allies winning the Second World War and is of great importance to the history of Europe,' said Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage."

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Love for old crypto (5, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661189)

You would think that the popularity of Cryptonomicon [] among the public, nerds and not-so-nerdy people alike, would have translated into a bit more enthusiasm for preserving some of those old crypto legends. Did Stephenson himself ever issue a call for support?

Re:Love for old crypto (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25661393)

I think that the book was so fucking awful that it actually decreased interest in "those old crypto legends".

Re:Love for old crypto (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25661901)

Only for you, moron.

Re:Love for old crypto (2, Interesting)

Patchw0rk F0g (663145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25663957)

Actually, I just re-read that recently. Not only does it add to the appreciation of what our fore-fathers were doing, but brings it up to date (at the time, at least) with what was/is current in cryptonography.

I'm glad that Bletchley's getting a new lease on life. There is/was a museum in Oshawa, Ontario that was dedicated to the Canadian war effort, and had at one time information as to the efforts that we gave to similar code-breaking endeavours. As of time of writing, I think that's been over-grown by an airport expansion. Sad. I hope they kept those logs and diaries for future generations.

That was my first foray into crypto. I hope someone saved it so that it's someone else's first exposure to it, too.

Re:Love for old crypto (5, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25664831)

Maybe it would have worked better if he actually wrote a historical novel. I am aware that I am bashing a popular author here but, seriously, at this place and time things happened that were so incredible that there is no need to add all this crappy fictional things around real facts. Simon Singh's "The Code Book" is far more breathtaking and it is a history book.

Heroism surrounded code breakers in Poland where the first mechanical algorithmic machines were made with the help of the secret services. Germany had their share of the game with their first programmable electronic device (some would call it a computer). The weirdness surrounding the decision of choosing an Indian language as American code (no, it was not because it was supposedly harder to break, but it was faster to have a native speaker of a code than a cryptographer who needed minutes to code even a short message). Bletchley recruitment effort that involved crosswords games, the sad story of Turing death cause by his mandated anti-homosexuality treatment, Yamamoto's death possible because of a message interception and so on...

WWII is so full of facts and anecdotes that trading them for a fictional content can only look tasteless...

Re:Love for old crypto (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25665987)

That was my immediate reaction too. The book seriously rocks!

It's good to see.. (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661211)

I'm glad to see that war heritage sites are not just being allowed to fall by the way side. They need to be preserved AND used.

Lame. (4, Insightful)

macthulhu (603399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661363)

Seems to me that some of the guys running the big tech companies should kick in a little something... Given Bletchley's place in computing history, Gates, Jobs, et al should throw them a bone. Even in this economy, Gates could probably fund it himself without really noticing a hit in his wallet.

Re:Lame. (5, Informative)

1stvamp (662375) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661607)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation refused to offer any support to Bletchley earlier this year. []

Re:Lame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688317)

Yeah.. didn't run Windows.

Re:Lame. (-1, Troll)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661793)

I saw no where in your post about you having contributed. I would suspect that you haven't.

You should never obligate anyone to something you do not obligate yourself too.

However I understand the mentality expressed in your post and others here all too well. It is far easier to take someone's money; and yes your taking; provided you never have to meet the person your taking it from.

If this is the future of the world its not a good one.

Re:Lame. (4, Interesting)

macthulhu (603399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662373)

Wow. Not that I owe your condescending ass an explanation, but allow me to elaborate. I build, repair, and support computers for a non-profit organization. I'm also on their board of directors, and partially responsible for advising the tech needs of the arts programs of every school in my county. In what would normally be billable hours for me, I probably contribute an amount equal to about 40% of my income each year. My field is less related to the actual general birth of computing, so my contribution is geared toward my particular expertise. My suggestion that people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would be good contributors was related to their A) role in the early stages of personal computing, and B) their high profiles as entrepreneurs... which would be good publicity for the cause. Your veiled implication that I'm hoping to redistribute the wealth of others, and not my own, is a lame, reactionary jumping of the gun that was completely uncalled for. If your level of discourse is the "future of the world", I will join you in lamenting our future. So wag your finger at somebody else jackass.

Re:Lame. (-1, Troll)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662621)

The GP is right, just because you contribute to other causes doesn't mean you get to decide what others should spend their money on.

Re:Lame. (2, Insightful)

macthulhu (603399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25663501)

One more time, to clarify... I contribute what I can in my field of expertise. I was merely suggesting that there are some luminaries in the field that would be a good match. I realize everyone is touchy about the redistribution of wealth these days, but I'm pretty far from suggesting it be taxed out of anyone. I support the idea of people giving to projects that relate to the foundation of careers that they have found massive success in, of their own free will. Charitable giving, especially to something closely related to one's own good fortune and interests and the preservation of history is a decent thing to do. That is all. Relax.

Re:Lame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25664673)

So why would an American be closely related to a British museum? Just because the dude used to own a company that makes operating systems doesn't mean he is in anyway related.

Anyway you have to see it in context, Bill Gate's charities are about helping kids in Africa, not funding some popular slashdot shit which you ameritards will never visit anyway.

Re:Lame. (1)

g253 (855070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662407)

That's pretty close to trolling. He was only suggesting that given the historical significance of the place in the history of computing, it would be a nice gesture for people who have made millions or billions of dollars in computing to make gesture. That it would not hurt them, that it would be nice and probably good publicity as well. He didn't sound agressive or demeaning (you, on the other hand, did).

You see, if I made a donation of about one percent of my monthly income (that's about 20), it would help. Not much.
If they did, it could save the place once and for all.

Re:Lame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25671261)

If the silly Brits just got got rid of the the ol' monarchy, they could probably fund everything lie this and not collect taxes for a few years too.

Re:Lame. (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25672605)

IBM already has.

So where do we send our bucks? (3, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661385)

Where do Slashdotters send their $5/10/20 or £5/10/20 then?

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (5, Informative)

dpoulson (132871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661575)

To donate via paypal go here: []

or by WorldPay: []

No excuses. If you live in the UK, go for a visit. Fantastic place full of great exhibits.


Re:So where do we send our bucks? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25662469)

I second that. When I made it there after a business trip, I really wished I had more time. There is so much to browse it's hard to fit into an afternoon. The volunteers that give the tour are great...highly recommend it. They, however, wouldn't answer my question about if they used the enigma to insert messages, orders, or replies to any of the Germans in order to confuse them (-:

They didn't have the Bombe replica running when I was there, really wanted to see that.

The best thing they did have was a complete working replica of the Colossus Mark 2 up and running. This thing was build by volunteers that reconstructed it purely from pictures and from the memories of women who ran it during the war. It filled a room and kept it at 80+ degrees in there. It was built to decipher messages from the Lorenz machine, and it did it faster than optimized decryption software running on a Pentium II. There's definitely something to be said for optimized hardware.

They were in the process of re-opening a national computing museum or something of the like, so hopefully that's an exhibit there now as well.

And not that the walk around town wasn't nice, but take a right on the street in front of the station you get off at if you ride the rail to get there (-:

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25662561)

If you live in the UK, go for a visit. Fantastic place full of great exhibits.

Ditto that. I'm a member of the USAF stationed in the UK. It's convenient to get to Bletchley from almost anywhere as it's right next to a train line to London, and a visit and tour only takes a few hours. The amount of history that was made there in such trying times and conditions is incredible... from breaking the Enigma codes to the world's first computer (20 years before ENIAC - but only recently unclassified). A visit to Churchill's "most secret source" is something that can not be missed.

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (4, Funny)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662903)

If you live in the UK, go for a visit. Fantastic place full of great exhibits.

I've been. They have a cool computer museum there.

And let me tell you, NOTHING in the world can make you feel as old as being in frakin museum and finding yourself saying "I remember those!"

Just ask John McCain.

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (1)

walter.dufresne (84589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25666125)

"NOTHING in the world can make you feel as old"

I gotta fix that old Western Union telegrapher's key covered in sawdust in my barn.

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25668341)

I went a few weeks ago. The old computers are very cool, they don't have a lot of cash for fancy displays and so on, so you wander through something resembling a warehouse full of old *nix machines, ranks of huge disk drives more closely resembling a lauderette than a storage array, a room full of old personal computers you can have a go on and relive you youth - Commodore Pet, C64, Spectrum, BBC Micro, TRS-80, Amiga 500, Atari ST and more. Cases full of old PDAs, laptops and calculators. Awesome stuff for hardware geeks.

It's a truly historic place and they have some wonderful stuff they could display, but the lack of cash is obvious from the moment you walk through the doors. It is literally falling down in many places, with priceless an unique artifacts hidden away in huts thrown up 60 years ago and intended to last for 10. It's sad to see things like a Harier jet sinking in to the grass, a huge wooden mockup of a sumbarine rotting away in the car park and a dusty PDP/11 tucked away in a side room. They could have far more on display, preserve things much better and generally give the place, people and things the attention and respect they deserve if only they had the money. There is no shortage of will, knowledge or dedication, only cash. If you're ever in the UK, go. If you aren't, give [] them a donation [] .

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25672839)

>>And let me tell you, NOTHING in the world can make you feel as old as being in frakin museum and finding yourself saying "I remember those!"
Oh yes there is ...
let me tell you, NOTHING in the world can make you feel as old as being in frakin museum and finding yourself saying "I designed that!"

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25672979)

let me tell you, NOTHING in the world can make you feel as old as being in frakin museum and finding yourself saying "I designed that!"

God, is that you??

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (1)

WGR (32993) | more than 5 years ago | (#25665477)

My wife and I visited Bletchley Park at the beginning of October. I bought a book containing short biographies of many of the codebreakers. Along with Alan Turing, a number of these people were important in setting up computer research labs after the war, including the Manchester University "Baby" computer, which was the first all electronic stored program computer. Another, Gordon Welchman, was one of the first lecturers n computer science at MIT and was one of the dsigners of the Whirlwind computer. William Tutte became an expert in graph theory and helped found the Mathematics Faculty at the University of Waterloo.

The re-created Colossus 2 machine is fascinating to watch. It works on an endless paper tape of the captured radio interceptions. It compares the code on the tape with a number of keys in parallel, looking for common German words to suggest which keys were possible.

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (1)

Niggle (68950) | more than 5 years ago | (#25673033)

No excuses. If you live in the UK, go for a visit. Fantastic place full of great exhibits.
I'm ashamed to say that, despite being born less than 2 miles from the place and still having family in the area, I've never been.
I'll be handing in my geek card shortly.

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661659)


It's nice that you want to help, but I don't think sending 2.5 cents is really going to have that much of an effect on the project.

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (2, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661743)


It's nice that you want to help, but I don't think sending 2.5 cents is really going to have that much of an effect on the project.

Perhaps, but given the economy, those 2.5 cents in todays dollars will be $30 in 2012 dollars. Not sure if this is actually funny, or terrifying. I'll let the mods decide.

Re:So where do we send our bucks? (2, Interesting)

N. Criss (961443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25663019)

Maybe not individually, but if you could turn even a tiny fraction of the typical Slashdot effect into a donation effect then as a community we could make a very big difference. I just gave 5GBP, which PayPal calculated as just over $8 US. Any other nerds willing to help out?

I can think of a few groups that should pony up. (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661447)

Hey Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Intel.
Each of you are swiming in cash and this is your history.
Why not pony up some bucks for History.
While your at it the Apollo 1 launch pad is also fading away.

Re:I can think of a few groups that should pony up (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661655)

They tried to donate, but when they ran the address through their decryption software they couldn't make heads or tails of it.

How about the state of California... (2, Insightful)

trawg (308495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662231)

...that just spent US$73 million dollars [] arguing over Proposition 8 - should there be same sex marriage in the state of California.

I'm not American, or gay, but it fucking shits me when I see this sort of money being thrown around - in the middle of this epic credit crisis, no less - over something as utterly trivial as whether or not gay people can get married, when there's actual, serious, important things all over the world that get practically no funding.

I don't know how much money came from where but the AP article I read indicates that (unsurprisingly) lots of it comes from various religious organisations, including the Mormon Church which various sources say have raised between US$8 million [] and US$17 million [] alone.

Pretty sad state of affairs, really.

Re:How about the state of California... (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25664073)

Not that I disagree with your views, but try to remember they are *your* views. Gay marriage, whether you're for or against, is a lot more important and relevant to some people than saving Bletchley. Not to me, I'm a geek, but we have to accept other people's right to believe and support what they want, just as we expect to not have others views imposed on us. The world needs some tolerance of others a lot more than it needs money.

Re:How about the state of California... (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25664577)

Gay marriage, whether you're for or against, is a lot more important and relevant to some people than saving Bletchley.

I know, that's what I'm lamenting about. It seems to me that it would be "better" (in an as-objective-as-I-can-be sense of the word) for people to care more about preserving historical artifacts, buildings, etc. The case can certainly be made that Bletchley isn't exactly a Parthenon or a Pyramid, but it has a pretty significant place in world history (I know I am biased on this building in particular as a bit of a WW2 nerd).

The world needs some tolerance of others a lot more than it needs money.

Totally agree - starting with tolerance of gays would be a great start if it would free up ~$70m for something useful :)

Re:How about the state of California... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25664955)

Most people these days care more about their present state of affairs and their future. History is fine and all but legal issues like this are all about providing for your family now and in the future. I agree with you that if people would just get over their "moral dilemma" and let gays marry, live, and be accepted, the world would be a better place.

Re:How about the state of California... (1)

sponga (739683) | more than 5 years ago | (#25666571)

Why don't they take all the crypto machines and other stuff in the house, donate it to the Smitsonian or other large British museums where they could be on display for many more people to see than some rickety old house out in the middle of nowhere. Hell do a world tour of the stuff and setup mock rooms to display the stuff with fake dolls manning the machines and audio clips playing of an incoming air raid, get some attention and media coverage on the stuff.

It just seems like this history is in the wrong location and inaccessible to a lot of people. Doesn't sound like a place I would want to visit either, not very appealing(sorry just cold hard truth). Many of the WW2 locations including Normandy are crumbling away with no intent on rebuilding the bunkers, gun emplacements, fortresses, secret submarine stations and much other stuff that actual WW2 veterans can relate to. If you want to save Bletchley Park than get the WW2 vets on your side, because time is limited and that generation is dying out very quickly.

I am Californian and I don't think we should donate money to refurbish a secret WW2 crypto huts 'IN ENGLAND'. Personally I would get a good moving company and move the entire village to a location that is more accessible or downtown London. I liked that one bunker under the parliamentary building and how the war room was all laid out as if the war had just ended. How much funds go toward the medieval era museums with all the armory and the one with a giant room of knights armor and weapons.

California has the largest population of any state and we are literally an economy in itself, so don't be surprised when you open the California section in the LA Times to read a couple million was raised for Sea lions, the wetlands or maybe raise money for Briney Spears to get a new wig.

You want me as a Californian to donate money to Bletchley Park, move the entire park to my city.

The only sad state of affairs is that this is in Britain and they cannot even raise the money for it from their own government/people. Have some pride in what your country men did for you, take a little money from the Royal families fund and divert it to Bletchley Park since they saved their life.

I voted on the Prop. 8, as long as we aren't passing laws to restrict where and when people can go or other civil rights issues than I have no problem with it. I didn't donate one penny to that cause for 'yes' or 'no' advertising, I did however donate money and volunteer time to take care of the wetlands project locally around here.

Re:How about the state of California... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25667287)

1. I am not from the UK.
2. Bletchley Park is where it is. Moving it doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
3. Think about the amount we are talking about. A new Roof? Google spends that on free soda, Microsoft on one really dumb ad, and Apple on???
We are talking about nest to nothing. And Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Intel all make money and sell products in the UK so they are already there.

Re:I can think of a few groups that should pony up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25663189)

why would you appeal to tech companies to preserve the apollo 1 launch pad when there are wealthy aerospace companies getting rich off the war?

It's funny, isn't it? (5, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661879)

You would never suspect that everyone at this school is a professional dancer.

*ba dum bump*! TING!

Seriously though, it's funny how the British government (among others), can find tens of billions, if not trillions, of dollars to bail out private businesses who are failing due to the incompetence of those running those businesses yet, it can't find a few meager thousands of dollars to repair one building who helped save its own hide.

Just goes to show where priorities lie.

Re:It's funny, isn't it? (3, Interesting)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662353)

No it isn't funny, it makes sense.

A government's priorities lie with immediate issues, not with entities that won't have an immediate effect. Saving Bletchley park is a matter of sentimentality and history and a government or corporation has every right to choose to ignore it - I'd rather they spent their efforts at least talking about the current economic crisis than helping a WW relic. When things are better, that'd be the time to look at anything else.

Conversely, if the government decided to give it, say GBP/USD40 million, others would complain about the government wasting their tax money.

So yes, it goes to show where the priorities lie and I'm glad its attention isn't wandering away.

Re:It's funny, isn't it? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25663269)

A government's priorities lie with immediate issues, not with entities that won't have an immediate effect.

Which is of course, typically short-sighted of every government. Sure, Blethley won't have any immediate or long-term effect on the country's operation, but it is because of Bletchley Park that GB even exists.

If we're going to say that historical buildings/sites such as Bletchley should be left to rot, then why bother having any historical organizations at all? Places such as the Arizona memorial in Hawaii, Gettysburg in PA, Edison's workshop in NJ, etc all should be left to sink or swim on their own.

While we're at it, why don't we just pave over Auschwitz and Dachau to make way for new industries that will have an immediate effect on both taxes and employment. (No, I didn't Godwin the conversation but yes, I did use an extreme example)

When things are better, that'd be the time to look at anything else.

Right, because as we all know, when economic times are better, governments pay off the debt they took on when times were bad, every wish-list item is fully funded and dogs and cats play together like old friends.

Besides, why is it the governments responsibility to bail out private businesses? I thought the whole point of capitalism and free markets was to let businesses sink or swim based on competition. Since when should taxpayers be bailing people out who took on too much risk AND who told the government not to enact new regulations because that would kill their industry? Unless of course you're advocating fascism in which case, ok, I understand your point.

Re:It's funny, isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25662419)

You would never suspect that everyone at this school is a professional dancer.

*ba dum bump*! TING!

"Whoosh" is the sound of that one passing over everyone's heads. Care to elucidate?

Re:It's funny, isn't it? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662449)

The difference being that going on past experience the billions dumped into banking will pay a healthy profit (eventually...)

But museums represent our past *and* our future once they are gone they are gone forever ....

Re:It's funny, isn't it? (0)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#25663053)

Not that programmers are much more sentimental.

What do you do with the sticks of RAM that you no longer need?
What about your old 386's or 486's, or laptops?

Mine are in the junkyard or lying around in much the same state of disrepair as i'm sure Bletchley was.

But in any event, yes, this place needs to be protected.

Re:It's funny, isn't it? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25663999)

The trouble with preserving everything of cultural importance in the UK is that there are so many buildings that fall into this category. Victorian churches are knocked down all the time, just because there's not the money to keep them up. Restoration [] was a program recently on the BBC, with loads of good causes which ideally should have been restored, but there's just no cash for it.

ps. the BBC website seems to be down ATM, no idea why.

I think this deserves a tag (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662475)


National Lottery? (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662843)

When you see some of (frankly) SHIT that the National Lottery in the UK funds, it's mind boggling to me that they haven't ponied up some cash for this site already.

Maybe as a Lottery, they feel a deep resentment for anyone who is good at math? I don't know.

There's not really that much there (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662891)

I've visited Bletchley Park. It's a nice day trip out from London. The actual exhibits aren't that extensive. They have a few Enigmas, a fancier version with twelve rotors and a teletype machine interface, some replica bombes (some from a movie), the replica Colossus, and a collection of minor crypto-related items. The whole collection would fit in a corner of the Imperial War Museum.

It's a big country estate that needs to be maintained. There's a manor house, a lake with swans, some outbuildings, and the remainder of the famous "huts". There's far too much real estate for the exhibits. The technical exhibits aren't in the manor house at all. The manor house is used for conferences and such. The upkeep on all that real estate is the problem.

It's nice that it's being maintained, but there's not that much to see there.

Re:There's not really that much there (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25665297)

Dude! Your idea of what the word "museum" means is skewed by the fact that you're familiar with the museums of what is possibly the #1 museum location in the world, London. Bletchley Park is a fine museum with plenty of exhibits and reconstructed wartime rooms including actual Enigma machines and teletypes, reconstructed Bombes and an amazing reconstruction of Colossus. You get to see the actual buildings in which WWII cryptography took place including the huts. You also get a guided tour full of interesting historical anecdotes. Of course it's smaller than the Imperial War Museum, the latter was created by a national government effort and is probably one of the largest museums of its type in the entire world.

Re:There's not really that much there (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25668595)

When did you go? I went a few weeks ago and of specific geek interest there was also the computing museum and a collection of more modern crypto machines. Then there are all the WWII military and home-front exhibits, the amateur radio stuff, the wartime cinema stuff, model railway stuff, the "Pigeons at War" exhibit and more.

Some of the exhibits are only open on certain days, so you may have been unlucky on the day you went and missed out on a lot, but there really is a lot more there than you seem to have seen. A lot of exhibits are closed some of the time because they are run by volunteers, they just don't have the resources to organise and display everything they have got properly.

Try not to burn it down (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25663837)

Please keep an eye on your roofing contractors, so they don't burn it down like happened with David Garrick's 18th century mansion.

Re:Try not to burn it down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25665293)

I live in south Wales, and have seen three large old buildings burn down over the last couple of years.

In each case, they had been bought by a company that refurbishes buildings for the council. Normally they keep the frontage and effectively build a new construction inside it. If the building is listed or of special architectural interest, then they cannot do this, and it becomes far more expensive to refurbish.

So, they leave it getting derelict for a year or so, provide no security and easy access for vagrants. Then magically the building always catches fire. Construction company can then knock it down, council gets the insurance, everyone is happy!

For Bletchly park, I imagine the huts are going to catch fire in the next year or so, if no funding can be found. The property is then of no historical interest, and the main buildings can be sold on to developers.

GCHQ showing itself for what it is (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25664239)

Bletchley Park (I have some VAXen that went through you at one point, and we'll both pretend you crushed the media... ;-) is the father of GCHQ [] , the British sorta-NSA. It would not, of course, dream of allocating any part of its budget to the memory of its intellectual founders, because it differs from Bletchley in one important respect: Bletchley fought a real war against a real threat to the nation.

On the off-chance that the guys that jumped into the Service from the same crappy minor public school I went to are reading this: sorry to hear you weren't good enough to get into the City, and let Ulbricht serve as your modest guide to the new century. No matter what you achieve, your old schoolchums will always know that you did it because you weren't bright enough to do anything more creative.

Re:GCHQ showing itself for what it is (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25672615)

This to the people who invented public key cryptography and an implementation of RSA (and kept it secret, of course) decades before the public did? And you're comparing them to the incompetent City bankers who (despite their skilled ancestors of the nineteenth century) bought up all those bad loans? For shame.

Re:GCHQ showing itself for what it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25673479)

Thanks for your response. You are, however, responding to what you think I said, rather than to what I actually said. Allow me to be more explicit: today's Service is for the narcissist who lacks the intelligence to operate in the City. Not able to profit with his mind, he achieves by brute force (whether that consists of unlimited budgets or peons with guns).

If you think City bankers are incompetent, you're missing the point entirely: unless you're a large investor. they're not working in your interest. You see a "credit crunch" and you think someone isn't doing his job, but the last 10 years was an excellent way to amass wealth. There's been enough money to go around that by the time the public sees what's going on everyone involved is rich enough not to care. If you want to put it crudely, the banker is "Evil, alpha class" while the civil servant is "Evil, beta class"; the latter also has it drummed into him at most stages of his education and training that his role is essential for the safety of the nation, and because he is not the wittiest kid on the block, he believes it. This makes the latter more unhinged >:): they're not only unscrupulous, but they're bitter men who have nevertheless become convinced that their role is essential. This trait is obvious in public-facing minor civil servants, but much more pronounced at the top!

You will also note that I put emphasis on the security goals/achievements of Bletchley vs modern Service rather than mathematical output. This is because neither made/make a habit of publishing research. It is historically significant that Bletchley discovered, say, public key cryptography, but it is not correct to declare that Bletchley "invented" it ("who was the first to think of...?" questions should be taught as impossible to answer very early in education, but I digress...). Any number of mathematicians before those at Bletchley, acting for some secretive organisation or merely for their own amusement, may have discovered something similar but chosen not to disseminate. We can judge Bletchley/GCHQ only by what was/is achieved with its knowledge, and determining that requires a wider analysis of the activities of British governments then and now. I would conclude respectively that Bletchley fought a real war against a real threat to a whole nation while GCHQ's main job is to protect the interests of a powerful minority. I omit the essay for reasons of space ;-).

Re:GCHQ showing itself for what it is (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686113)

Thank you for your fair and informative reply.

Bletchley staff (2, Interesting)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670831)

Back in the '80s, my Dad and stepmother were watching a TV show on Bletchley here in NZ. During the adverts, My Dad mentioned that he'd been there (minor capacity - probably a clerk, but lord knows). Turns out that my stepmother was there too, different dates.

What I thought interesting was that they didn't talk about it for at least 40 years after the work there. The security aspect, and war reticence, I guess.

Bletchley Park - what you can do.... (1)

blackse (1404681) | more than 5 years ago | (#25719493)

Hi all,

I'm the person that went to Bletchley Park in July, got really annoyed at the state of the huts etc. got 97 signatures from UK Heads and Professors of Computing, sent in a letter to the Times and ended up on the BBC (which was a bit nerve racking to say the least).

The EH money is a great first step towards saving BP, but loads more funding needs to be found. You can help with this by talking to friends/colleagues etc. about it and forwarding the URL for my campaign blog which gives a lot more details of everything plus has a link to the petition and the online donation URL.

We must save BP. The work that went on there shortened WWII by 2 years, thus saving a possible 22 million(!) lives. It is also the birthplace of the modern computer. The National Museum of Computing is there with loads of really interesting machines and peripherals.

Most people don't realise how fundamental its contribution was because everything has been kept so secret for so many years. There are many, many people who still have not told anyone of their involvement, several thousand people worked there everyday on long shifts around the clock for years. It was so secretive that they often did not know what the people in the next hut were doing. There are loads of fascinating stories to be heard.

My blog is here:

Please help to save BP.



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