back to article Whitehall coughs £250k for Bletchley Park pothole repairs

Famed World War II codebreaking centre Bletchley Park has been given £250k by the British government - which owes its existence to work performed at the site - for urgent repairs. The money comes from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and is intended to allow managers at the historic site to deal with potholes and …


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  1. KitD

    If you want to make a difference ...

    you can add your own donations here:

  2. Natty

    Car Tax

    I would like to donate £120 a year to the Government for them to repair the potholes in the roads I use.

    I would like to call this new idea of mine Car Tax, or Road Fund Licence maybe...

    Any takers?


  3. Anonymous Coward


    Well, every little helps I suppose....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Copy the rural broadband idea

    A 50p tax on every computer sold in the UK, used to fund Bletchley Park.

  5. Mark 7

    Enigma first defeated at Bletchley Park!?!

    Another Great British Myth.

    Enigma was broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau in 1932!

    1. Daniel Garcia 2
      Thumb Up


    2. Anonymous Coward

      nobody claims Enigma was first cracked at Bletchley

      The PCB did crack many pre-war versions of Enigma (and passed this information to US and British intelligence). However, Enigma went through many later, more complex evolutions which Bletchley Park did crack. The versions cracked by the PCB contributed greatly to the understanding of the later types, but the PCB did not crack these, as it no longer existed by then.

      Bletchley Park is rightly given credit for its efforts, particularly in cracking the much more difficult Lorenz cipher and more importantly, for its development of electronic computers in order to do this.

      The only myth here is the canard you're trying to perpetuate. It's the Americans who think they broke Enigma and that's only due to a dodgy Jon Bon Jovi movie (

    3. Anonymous Coward

      first defeated?

      where does the article say that?

    4. Ste ve

      Re: Enimga first defeated...

      I'd go with misunderstanding or meme rather than myth.

      Since the beginning of the release of official information about Bletchley Park's activities in the late 70s, which were still considered highly secret way after the war (not least because the British Government had sold the enigma system to various allied countries as a 'secure' encryption system), the contributions of the Polish Cipher Bureau have been acknowledge in every good source on the subject.

      Very early reports suggested were confused as they were leaks against the official secrets act.

      By the late 70s BBC series 'The Secret War' which was one of the first authoratitive programmes on the subject this was acknowledge by Bletchley's staff who had broken their silence and given interviews to the BBC.

      Yes, the Polish Cipher Bureau cracked the original enigma system and gave over their research just about the time the Germans were trundling into Poland.

      During the course of the war, enigma was upgraded with multiple interchangeable wheels and an increase in the number of wheels as well as the use of a plug board on the front of the machine to further obfuscate the signal path.

      All of this increased the complexities and, as with any deciphering, more work was needed in order to decrypt the enciphered data.

      The automation of the process to handle the identifying of possible settings was courtesy of a certain Mr Turin, the bombe if I recall. Another prevalent misunderstanding is that this task was carried out by collosus.

      Interested in this stuff since childhood? Well, yup. :)

      As to the article itself, this government needs to find money to support historically important things like Bletchley Park rather than squandering it on election rigging. 250K? Pathetic!

      Everyone alive today owes a lot to all the people who contributed to the research, or worked at Bletchley and who kept its activities so vitally secret throughout the war.

      Now, as the first poster suggested, please give a little bit to help Bletchley Park out :)

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Ok going out on a limb here ..

    Bletchley is crap.

    There's an enigma machine ,a recreated colossus and a few bits that could and should go in the science museum alongside the recreated Babbage computer.

    The rest of the site is typical British, small town, local council, amateurish crap.

    A model U-boot from some film set in the carpark, a few rotting portacabins with school project level displays of carrier pigeons on the walls, an exhibition of toy cars in one of the stables.

    The national computer museum, is a collection of about the same home computers I have in the loft and a couple of old mainframes - with a volunteer to tell you about when they got them.

    And the money is being spent on restoring the roof of some ordinary grade II 19C country house that is now used as the tea room.

    The only bit that doesn't look like it was done by the local WI is a recruiting pitch by GCHQ explaining how we are only safe from Nazis because they read our email.

    Move the artifacts to the science museum where they can be properly displayed and people will see them, there is no significance to them being at the same address as the offices they were used in. It's like having the air museum at Duxford distributed around the country in sheds at the site of each of the designer's offices.

    1. Jim Morrow

      Bletchley is crap

      Too true. It's a fucking mess. It's full of tat which wouldn't be allowed at a car boot sale. Although the volunteers are doing their best with very little money, it's an embarrassment. There's no coherent vision of what the museum could or should be. It looks as if they let anyone dump all the WW2 era house contents that was in their nan's attic whenever they cleared out her house after she died.

      The computer museum is filled with irrelevant junk: removable disk drives/packs from the 1970s and ICL mainframe cabinets. There's no historical context either to computing in general or if the exhibits had any lineage to the UK's pioneering work in computers durning and immediately after WW2.

      The rebuilt bombes and Colossus are all very well, but there's no explanation of how they worked and you don't get any sort of feel for how hard it was to crack the ciphers, intercept the signals or pass on the decodes to Whitehall or the field commanders. You don't even get an idea of the scale of the wartime operation: how many people worked there, how many buildings were used, what the Station X people lived on or where they lived, etc, etc.

      Making space for GCHQ's propganda is just shameful. And WTF are the wrecked Harrier jet and bits of aircraft fuselage all about?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      You've clearly never been there

      Bletchley Park, for the same reason any other historical site is maintained, is important for the role it, and its staff fulfilled during the last World War. There would be little reason to have any of the exhibits elsewhere, especially the national computing museum, as BP is historically the most significant computing site in the UK.

      Your comparison with Duxford is odd; in the same way things are scattered around Bletchley Park this is also true of the displays at Duxford. Have you not been there and noticed that aircraft are spread around various hangars? Never had that long walk up to the American display at the end of the airfield and wondered why they weren't all together? Of course you haven't. Stop being naive, and picking faults where none exist. The point of having the huts open is the huts at Bletchley Park are part of our history.

      It's a curious fact that you seem to criticize BP for having a model sub present - if you dig around Duxford you'll find a real sub in one of the hangars, for no obvious reason, except, of course, it makes the point that it's the Imperial WAR museum, and therefore the exhibits represent this. You might want to have a think about what the people at BP were working towards. Here's a clue : it was to try to end a war.

      You've even managed to be wrong about the tea room; it's in one of the huts next to the house in Bletchley Park, it's not in the house itself.

      Please do a little research before opening your mouth and posting anonymously. It's better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lovely Experience

      Gosh, so much to be irritated by in your comment.

      Bletchley's a good old-fashioned museum with lots of info on bits of WWII not often covered elsewhere, in an evocative (yes, that does mean dilapidated and smelling of mothballs) setting. Too many museums have been glammed up with more expensive catering, huge gift shop, an identikit corporate feel, and insufficient content.

      Sure, parts are--blatently (honestly?)--provided by GCHQ. But don't all museums have an "agenda" in their selection, arrangement and explanation of their exhibits? The GCHQ "branding" of part of the Bletchley exhibit makes this plain: maybe we should be more aware of possible biases in other displays?

      As for shipping it off to the Science Museum: why should London have all the best of history and art?

      And, no, I don't work at Bletchley Park and am ashamed it's only this year I've made a first visit. But--especially since their tickets are valid for a year--I'll be going back to see the bits I didn't have time for first time round.

  7. Geeks and Lies

    I really should...

    visit this place more often as it is spitting distance from where i live!

    We wouldnt be speaking English if it wasn't for them and always donate a bit extra when i go as they deserve the cash! Its a sh1tter that the powers that be dont appreciate it as they REALLY should!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      oh fuck! another troll

      >> We wouldnt be speaking English if it wasn't for them

      bollocks! while the role of bletchley in ww2 was significant, it wasn't more significant than the either the american's industrial contribution or the massive amount of manpower the russians threw at the nazis. even if bletchley was the deciding factor in who won ww2, it would have made no difference to the language we speak. the french didn't stop speaking french because they were occupied by the germans. the poles didn't stop speaking polish after 6 years of german occupation and 60 years of russian occupation either.

      paris icon because even she's not enough of an airhead to say something that stupid.

  8. Mark 179

    @ Mark7 & Yet Another

    @Mark7 - Not quite as simple as that, the poles were able ot decrypt some messages from a commercial enigma - the numerous military versions wre quite different. The efforts by the Polish Cipher Bureau are well documented and there is even a monument to Zygalski, Rejewski and Rozycski at Bletchley.

    Reccomend reading "Enigma - The Battle For The Code" by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

    @Yet Another..

    Seems you went there and did a route march around the place and left in 10 minutes. There is a massive amount of information at Bletchley - you obviously missed the reconstructed bombe, the Y Station equipment, the numerous different enigma machines, the immense Churchill collection, the exhibits of a wartime home and D-Day invasion and probably some other stuff as well.

    Moving everything to the Science museum is a stupid idea - they wouldn't have anything like enough space and would not be able to do the story justice, quite apart from the fact that Bletchley are busy restoring the original huts - the whole site is part of the story, what possible reason is there to move it all ? All you'd end up with is a watered down story with a few exhibits that are unexplained in the corner of the science museum.

    You can go and see all of it at Bletchley as many times as you like for £10 a year, given that they have all sorts of events on through the year I reckon its a bit of a bargain.

  9. Paul_Murphy

    Blatchley Park didn't save us from invasion/speaking German.

    Radar was more pivotal than decrypting for that task.

    Hitlers' invasion plans would not have been sufficient without massive air superiority, and maybe not even then. Compare operation SeaLion (Seelowe) with Overlord to see the differences.


    They saved many lives - anyone whose parents or grand-parents that fought in the second world war may not be around today since they may not have lived through it.

    They shortened the war, probably by at least 2 years. This could have made a big difference to us Brits, since the V1s and V2 may have been operating for some years before being stopped.

    Another thought is that if Overlord was not successful then Europe would, more than likely, have been taken over by Russia and that would have led to a very different post-war world. One where we would not have been an equal partner (which we were at the time).

    The need for code books and other paraphanalia needed to break the various codes led to many different operations being carried out, many of which are just not known about, but Norway was very much involved in a lot of those activities.

    Without the work at Bletchly Park our world would not be as we have known it, whether that is for the better or worse is debateable of course, but incidents like the Cuba crisis in the 60's may have been a lot worse.

    We owe a lot to Bletchley Park and the people that worked there.


  10. Leon Stringer

    Another thumbs up for the BP museum

    Since it's been dissed I'll chip in: I love the BP museum. Whilst it's certainly tatty, it's where it all happened and you certainly get a sense of the history by actually being there. Being a geek I loved the old technology and the staff there were great. If you haven't visited, make the effort, it's easy to get to (one stop from Milton Keynes, 2 mins from the station, plenty of parking).

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