Nottingham Arts Society Trip to Bletchley Park, Tuesday 26th March 2019
Bletchley Park is a place of exceptional historical importance. It remains highly relevant to our lives today and for the future. It is the home of British codebreaking and a birthplace of modern information technology. It played a major role in World War Two, producing secret intelligence which had a direct and profound influence on the outcome of the conflict.
Over the past twenty years Bletchley Park has become an internationally renowned heritage attraction, visited by people from around the world, acknowledging the successes from the War and the people responsible for them. By presenting and explaining these achievements in the very place where they occurred, Bletchley Park brings together the dramatic history of the twentieth century with the challenges we face in the twenty first in our rapidly changing and technologically complex society.
The collection held at Bletchley Park focuses on items relating to the wartime story of Bletchley Park, with particular focus on codebreaking activities and the Codebreakers. As much of the evidence of codebreaking activity was destroyed after World War Two, the objects and documents that remain are of international significance.
The Trust’s own collections include personal items from Veterans, such as diaries, letters and recollections, and oral histories that add a unique personal insight into the wartime codebreaking activities. In addition, Bletchley Park is a repository for objects and documents on long-term loan from GCHQ’s historical collection. These include many of the key items that relate to the codebreaking story, such as relevant cipher machines and original paperwork.
The archaeology of the site, and the still existing buildings, are classed as heritage assets and are also a formal part of the collection. They stand as striking evidence to the work and life of the Codebreakers and the evolution of the ‘intelligence factory’ that developed during World War Two.
Nearly 10,000 people worked in the wider Bletchley Park organisation. At first pre-war recruitment policywas followed, looking for ‘Men and women of a professor type’ through contacts at Oxford and Cambridge universities. Many famous Codebreakers including Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman and Bill Tutte were found this way. Others such as Dilly Knox and Nigel de Grey had started their codebreaking careers in WW1. The organisation started in 1939 with only around 150 staff, but soon grew rapidly. As the codebreaking process became more mechanised, and the volume of intercepts grew, many more staff were recruited from a wider range of sources. A significant proportion of these were recruited from the Women’s Services; the WRNS, the ATS and the WAAF. By 1945, 75% of the staff of Bletchley Park were women, and of these six out of ten were in uniform.
We invite you to join us on the 26th March for a most interesting day at Bletchley Park …
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