Day out: Bletchley Park

5 Sep

From the (photo) archives — a day trip to Bletchley Park in the springtime.  But keep that intelligence MOST SECRET!  (If you don’t know anything about Bletchley Park already, read up.)IMG_3273edOne can play with virtual enigma machines. 158 million million million combinations, how will you do?

IMG_3275edMany of the heroes of Bletchley Park remain unnamed and unsung.  Nice to see this memorial.

IMG_3360edIt’s fun to imagine the strange atmosphere the campus might have had during WWII.  Like a super weird summer camp for cryptologists.

IMG_3364edOr a super-elegant stenographer pool.

IMG_3293edA loving restoration.

IMG_3291edCups and saucers, pencils and papers, purses and spectacles, all are set out on desks to give the impression of sudden emptiness — like everyone just walked out for a moment, and will return just as you turn around.

IMG_3298edThe ballroom, which was used for parties, or for quiet reading, or for movies.

IMG_3341edIt’s funny because it’s true.

IMG_3349edTuring has a memorable statue commemorating his life and work.  In the background, his teddy bear is preserved.

IMG_3332edA look into one of the ‘huts’ — where the action happened.

IMG_3330edPicturesque vintage bicycles.  The whole place has a Day After feel.  Evocative.

IMG_3322edInside the hut, the effort continues to make these spaces live with the sounds and sights of men and women working to solve puzzles and save lives in WWII.

IMG_3315edOld school!

IMG_3312edI have complicated and not-well-enough educated thoughts about the many women who worked at Bletchley Park.  We visited just after I had read “Life After Life” and “Code Name Verity” — both full of history and ideas which colored the way I viewed these spaces.  Watching the series The Bletchley Circle after our visit added yet another dimension to the experience.

IMG_3352edOh, dear, that looks complicated.  Here are the guts of a working Bombe — read more about it.

IMG_3308edThe Polish Memorial.

IMG_3366edThe gift shop has the expected mugs, tea towels, and books — and puzzles.

Worth a day out?  Definitely, but only if you’ve read something about it before hand.  There are interpretive signs and an audio guide which does a pretty good job, and some fun hands-on interpretive exhibits for the kids (and the kids-at-heart). As we’ve found in many spots, a day ticket can be converted to a 12-month pass for no additional fee.  There’s a minimalist cafe on site with cakes and coffee or tea, a good bit of walking through all the buildings, and an outdoor play space for kids – plan to spend several hours here.



2 Responses to “Day out: Bletchley Park”

  1. aubreyepp September 8, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    Love love LOVE Bletchley Circle! What a great series! As a female mathematician, I’ve always wanted to go to Bletchley Park. This post has clinched it for me. Thanks, Monique!

    • Monique September 10, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      It is worth a day out, absolutely!

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