Bletchley Park

 

Bletchley Park, also known as Station X, was the birthplace of the world’s first ever programmable electronic computer - Colossus - designed and built by a team headed by the late Tommy Flowers in the utmost secrecy during World War II. Colossus was built specifically to decipher German encoded messages and it is estimated that the work done at Bletchley Park, including the design, build and use of Colossus, shortened the war by at least 2 years.

Bletchley Park was also the wartime workplace of Alan Turing, who was responsible for much of the mathematical work in the war time decoding operations and also the brains behind an electro-mechanical computer, also built and used at Bletchley, called the Bombe..

During the war 12 Colossi and many more Bombes were built, but on Churchill's orders, when the war was over, everything at Station X was destroyed, in order that any other enemies of the UK would never know how we had broken the German cyphers.

Thankfully, through the efforts of Tony Sale, many Bletchley Park veterans and many more volunteers, Bletchley Park is now a fantastic museum which includes re-built and fully operational Colossus and Bombe computers.

Prior to WWII Bletchley Park was the home of Lady Fanny Leon and Sir Herbert Samuel Leon. On Lady Fanny’s death it was to be sold to property developer s and turned into a housing estate. It was only saved from this fate when the Government Code and Cypher School (later MI5) purchased the site for the wartime codebreaking activities. The site still retains many of the features of it’s former use including the house itself which is gloriously quirky. It’s very well worth a trip to see.