Historic WWII site in urgent need of support…
Computeractive is backing Bletchley Park’s goal to raise the money it needs to ensure its survival and become a national museum. The heritage site is home to the UK’s code-breaking efforts that helped shorten the Second World War, saving countless lives. It is also the birthplace of the modern computer. Despite its past, Bletchley Park's future is uncertain. It receives no Government funding and relies on visitor income and donations, and now important historic buildings are in serious disrepair. The war exhibits and National Museum of Computing, which houses the rebuilt Colossus computer that broke high-level German communications during WWII, are run on a shoe-string budget.
For Bletchely Park, the scene of many of Britian’s most important victories, the future looks bleak if serious funding is not raised; the worst scenario is it could close within the next three years or buildings get beyond repair. Simon Greenish, director of Bletchley Park, said some of the work that needs to be carried out is urgent. “We need to solve some serious problems. Our income is £1m a year; our current upkeep costs are also running at £1m a year but this doesn’t cover all the work that needs to be done," he said.
"For example, huts 3 and 6, where the teams using the Enigma machine for codebreaking and analysis took place need urgent repairs. We also need to repair and upgrade basic infrastructure such as communications, power and drains." However, there is some good news, Mr Greenish said he was in talks with the National Lottery in the hope of securing a grant. Some urgent repairs have also been carried out. This includes work on the mansion roof, restoring Hut 8, the former workplace of Alan Turing and Blocks A, B (phase one and two) and E.
A petition to secure the future of the Blethley Park has been set up at the No 10 website with nearly 11,000 signatures already. Donations can be made online at its website.
In addition, the National Museum of Computing opened last year. It is not yet fully open but houses not only the Collosus but also computers right up to the modern day. Displays include analogue computers, calculator collections, hands-on machines and an Air Traffic Control Display. Bletchley Park also boasts unique mathematics learning resources for students and educators. It is hoped that eventually Bletchley can become part of either the Science Museum or Imperial War Museum. But before this can happen, Mr Greenish said Bletchley needs to be put on a solid financial footing.
People can get more information and visitor opening times by telephoning 01908 640404 or by email; firstname.lastname@example.org