back to article Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

It is a simmering conflict between two rival organisations over how Blighty's rich computing history should be preserved and showcased. Now the ongoing war between Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing has claimed its first casualties. Tony Carroll, an elderly volunteer at Bletchley Park, was fired after daring …


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  1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

    Bad faith all around

    I can still remember appeals for contemporary valves etc going around in the mid-90s - the rebuild was only possible because of the good-faith donations (money and parts) of a lot of interested folk. Does it cross the minds of the people involved that this kind of petty squabbling is not what those donations were to enable?

    1. David Pollard

      Re: Bad faith all around

      It certainly wasn't quite what I envisaged when I donated an early British PC plus CP/M manuals and such to illustrate the development of personal computing.

      1. akeane

        Re: Bad faith all around

        I think they flogged off that machine to TSB...

        (as an upgrade)

      2. Scoular

        Re: Bad faith all around

        I have some things here ready to ship as a donation (agreed in advance to be desirable).

        Now I will wait and see how things work out. Not much point in me wasting money shipping heavy things if they are no longer needed.

        1. TNMOC peter

          Re: Bad faith all around

          Is this donation to Bletchley Park or TNMOC?

          If TNMOC then as I stated earlier we are a completely separate organisation from BPT and intend to continue regardless of what barriers BPT put in front of us. Our location, galleries, donations and artefacts are completely safe from anything BPT can do so I assure you your donation is important to us as we have already agreed to accept them.

          Being part of the donations team, I am still processing donations daily and have no intention to stop.

          For anyone else who wants to donate equipment to us, please read our donations page:

          Please read the following which clarifies our position:

          1. kiwimuso

            Re: Bad faith all around

            Ah, it seems that you don't understand.

            This decision has been made by a 'manager'. Managers have been especially trained to make decisions. He must be right.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad faith all around

      But the computer museum do not seem to be at fault, I don't think there have been any changes by them except recovering items on loan to the other museum that has refused to cooperate with them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad faith all around

        There is a gulf of difference between the people who have LIVED what has happened here, and Johnny-come-latelies whose only connection to the era seems a desire to behave like one of the chaps Bletchley was spying on (this is the one rare occasion where I risk getting close to Godwin's law) - you don't do that to people who have given their *soul* to the place.

        However, even if we let that be, that director should be shown the door for causing a massive PR debacle. Instead of appreciating the fact that the site was basically getting free publicity, this guy chose to select that exact moment to send someone out. Even if that was the decision, anyone with more than 3 braincells sparking would have realised that delaying that would have been a better idea.

        Not that I personally condone such decisions - there should have been made much more effort to integrate the volunteers. If they reject changes, maybe it's because the changes may actually affect the integrity of what is on display.

        On the plus side: now all volunteers know how their work is valued. It may be better to exit en bloc with their integrity intact. It won't be possible to fight this lot now actual money has arrived :(.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bad faith all around

          Bletchley had actually a soul through these volunteers, the exhibitions came alive because of their dedication. I won't bother visiting a sanitised entertainment site, sorry.

          I've pinged the guys from the Swindon computer museum to see if they cannot at least take care of some of the volunteer exhibitions.

          1. TNMOC peter

            Re: Bad faith all around

            "I've pinged the guys from the Swindon computer museum to see if they cannot at least take care of some of the volunteer exhibitions."

            What volunteer exhibitions are you referring to and what have Swindon got to do with it? BPT don't have any computer related exhibitions.

            None of the TNMOC exhibitions, galleries, donations and artifacts are under threat here, we are completely separate from Bletchley Park and intend to continue regardless of what barriers (literally) BPT put in front of us. Our lease guarantees that BPT cannot stop people visiting Block H (but clearly they are trying to make that difficult) and there will always be a route from the main BP entrance to get to us.

            Please read our statement which makes it clear:


            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bad faith all around

              What volunteer exhibitions are you referring to and what have Swindon got to do with it? BPT don't have any computer related exhibitions.

              Nothing with any evil intent - you guys have an issue so the aim was to see if I could get some help from others whose intention is education and preservation of heritage rather than raw money pumping.

              I for one support you guys - see it in that context. I'm not exactly alone in this either - that BBC programme has not exactly been good advertising for BPT. If BPT has *any* marketing smarts it should issue a mea culpa, eat some humble pie and then actively work towards integration. Alas, I sense entrenched positions (pardon the pun) so I suspect this disconnect will rumble on for quite some time.

              BPT may have the name now, but I hope you guys keep taking care of its soul.

      2. Gnomalarta

        Re: Bad faith all around

        Looks like the marketing droids and accounting wonks have taken over. Like many, I am sure, it was a wonderful experience being shown the re-built Colossus and Tunny by one of the men that did it. As we were a radio club we got the technical tour and the story of how they managed to rebuild Colossus. Tony Carroll is very knowledgeable and if he goes all that knowledge and experience will be lost.

        BYW, the local Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Club were also ask to leave as they did not fit into the new vision of BP.

        I'm very glad to I got to see his version of Bletchley Park and feel sorry for all those who will merely get to visit a theme park.

        If he does not have one then let's give Tony Carroll an OBE!

        1. Chronos

          Re: Bad faith all around

          BYW, the local Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Club were also ask to leave as they did not fit into the new vision of BP.

          They were displaced by the RSGB's "National Radio Centre," which is a fancy name for an advertising hut for the major manufacturers of chequebook tat. The RSGB now do exactly what MKARS did - only badly, with all the soul, intellect and appeal of a putrescent deceased rat - with the sole intention of parting as many fools from the contents of their wallets as possible, as is the RSGB's wont. MKARS showed the public that amateur radio could be interesting. The RSGB simply see it as an income stream.

          These two organisations were made for each other, it seems.

  2. Steve James 1

    I visited about 2 years ago, and the whole charm of the place was the best tour I've ever had anywhere from someone who truly had passion for the place. We got the whole story, in a perfect setting. Sure the huts need a little TLC, but a glitzy visitors centre is not what is wanted here.

    The computing museum, helped to bring the story of the past up to date and was just as interesting as the main Bletchley tour. Also the Churchill museum was an integral part of the story, I understand that's now been removed. The toy museum, although cramped was just as interesting in transporting me back in time.

    I would hate to see a sanitised version, cleaned up for the modern age, with tour guides who are no more than just workers doing a job. It's the guides who really made the day, people like that with memories of how it was won't be around for ever and the trust would be well advised to keep them as long as possible. The trust wouldn't exist if it wasn't for those guides keeping the place alive.

    I half expect a gift shop with tea-towels and jam is probably on the agenda as well!

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      .....tea-towels and jam

      ".... a gift shop with tea-towels and jam" , made in China but labelled with pictures of cosy English cottages alongside packets of dried herbs, no doubt.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I half expect a gift shop with tea-towels and jam is probably on the agenda as well!"

      I'm sad to report they already have the gift shop in place, with the usual detritus of "Keep calm and carry on" miscellany and seemingly little of true relevance to the site.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        And maybe Stephen Fry for the tour description. For the LULZ.

      2. wolfetone Silver badge

        "I'm sad to report they already have the gift shop in place, with the usual detritus of "Keep calm and carry on" miscellany and seemingly little of true relevance to the site."

        I'm sad to confirm this, but don't forget they have big rubbers saying "For big mistakes".

        How apt.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1

          Big rubbers

          > big rubbers saying "For big mistakes"

          Is that rubber erasers or, umm, some other product?

          1. SoaG

            Re: Big rubbers

            They could probably shift a few novelty ones labeled Colossus

  3. Gordon Pryra

    Nothing new here

    As anyone who has worked for any large charitys, organisations or other areas like local government and the NHS will attest.

    Small minded hitlers worried about their own little empires exist all over the place.

    Logic takes a back foot and what is right and wrong is given less priority than tick boxes and ring fencing your own area of control.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing new here

      As usual the W@nkers in suits have moved in (as the have in all big IT institutions).

      The real heroes as usual, the ones who know what they are doing end up with Seagull Managers (fly in Sh1t on everything and fly off again with the food).


      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Nothing new here

        I saw the BBC report on the TV last week, so I'm glad to see you cover the issue here.

        I found the whole tone of what the Bletchley Park trust said and did disgusting and completely out of touch.

        As other have said, the men in suits have moved in.

        The whole charm of this place was it's Heath Robinson nature. Sure leaky roofs need fixing, but the whole place was a lash up in the 1940s, and should remain that way.

        To replace it with a glossy plastic "visitor experience" is turning it into a theme park.

    2. Dr. Ellen
      Big Brother

      Re: Nothing new here

      I've worked for museums. Sounds like the way they operate.

      1. Ted Treen
        Big Brother

        Pournelle's Iron Law

        Iron Law of Bureaucracy

        In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

        Sums it all up rather well, doesn't it?

    3. zb

      Re: Nothing new here

      I always wondered where Captain Mainwairing went after he left the bank.

  4. ColonelDare

    So Sad

    I have visited Bletchly twice in the past and found the visits very interesting and evocative of a time that I heard my parents talking about. I was recently asked by a neighbour whether I recommended Bletchley. as a day out? (it is a 400 mile round trip for us.) I was minded to yes, and "can I come too" - but given the bad blood and the seemingly poor value judgements regarding removing valid existing displays (Churchill out, McAfee in), my answer to my neighbour will be, No - and I'm not bothered to come too if you do go.


    1. VinceH

      Re: So Sad

      "and I'm not bothered to come too if you do go."

      Quite. It's been one of those places I'd like to visit if I'm ever in the area - but now I'm not so sure I'd be inclined to bother.

  5. dervheid
    Thumb Down


    I witnessed this broadcast last week. Utterly unneccesary and disgraceful treatment of someone who'd been a voluntary guide for decades. Clearly Iain Standen has little or no concept of the integrity and interdependancy of both parts of this site. He seemed to be more concerned with his little pet project visitor center.

    If you read this Mr Standen, I suggest you resign. You are an arse.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Unbelievable

      I happened to see that BBC program as well. The schmuck put on his blank managerial face on and was talking out of his own arse.

      These morons should be smeared with pitch, rolled in feathers and kicked out the door to find their own way home and never come back.

      I hope someone will raise enough stink for the Lottery to suspend their funding until this bunch of morons is replaced.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Unbelievable

        If you are done, I can invite you to have a visit with my local mayor...

  6. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    eh ?

    What's the point of going to Bletchley Park if you can't see Colossus ? Are they spending £8m so visitors can enjoy the lake and the garden ?

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Exactly. What the hell?

      This is an absolute disgrace.

    2. Gordon Pryra

      The lake and garden?

      Sorry Adrian 4, you have been misinformed, they are going to make way for the car park and additional turn styles

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The lake and garden?

        Bletchley is to become just a brand it seems - and once you have a brand, what do you do?

        Yes, you milk it.

    3. David Barrett

      Exactly, I don't see how you can have one without the other, NMOC should up and move to a different site as it sounds like Bletchley park don't want that particular part of their history to be shown..

      Or they could just put up a massive sign informing punters that "This is where the real history happened" lower their rates to be £1 less than the park and watch the parks admissions disappear...

      1. Sheridan Williams

        Visit The National Museum of Computing for only £5

        It's only £2 to see Colossus or £5 for the whole National Museum of Computing. You can visit this without paying £15 to see B Park.

    4. Thoy

      THAT is not the point.. The computer museum is an "add on " to the Bletchley Park experience and should be seen as such.. They might get more visitors if the was a small additional; charge to see it

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Mr. Standen,

    I was thinking of organising a school trip, but I've just changed my mind.

    P.S. You don't own British history, you know.

    1. Sheridan Williams

      Visiting The National Museum of Computing

      It's only £2 to see Colossus or £5 for the whole National Museum of Computing. You can visit this without paying £15 to see B Park.

      TNMOC takes over 5,000 students a year to see its museum, you are welcome here of course.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Visiting The National Museum of Computing

        Next time I'm down in MK, I'll make a point of visiting TNMOC, and then going to the pay booth at Bletchley Park and explaining at length why I'm not giving them my money.

  8. Peter Galbavy

    Corrupt executive here as well?

    I wonder how much of the budget goes on paying for corrupt career little-hitlers like the CEO? Surely a proper investigation by another committee is what we need?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Corrupt executive here as well?

      I would also suggest to take a close look at the choice of contractors, expense reports and see if the list of employees happens to include his wife, nephew and a couple of uncles...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Corrupt executive here as well?

        Hmm - I like that. Nothing mini-hitlers dislike more than scrutiny and supervision..

    2. Historian

      Re: Corrupt executive here as well?

      As a registered charity, the Bletchley Park Trust Limited has to files its financial statement each year with the Charity Commission:

      According to the most recent financial statement (for 2012), CEO Iain Standen joined in February 2012 and was paid "in the range of £80,000 to £90,000" for that year.

      The total wages bill was £983,116.

      1. TNMOC peter

        Re: Corrupt executive here as well - not at TNMOC

        "The total wages bill was £983,116."

        and for comparison that is 3 times the TOTAL income/donations TNMOC received for a similar period (upto march 2012). Our wages bill was under £20K (that's 4 people).

        You get a lot more bang for you pound at TNMOC

        Please help us by becoming a member or contributing to the Colossus gallery upkeep.

  9. xenny

    The ridiculous thing here is that Colossus (Which is what the computer museum has) is arguably a computer; a Bombe, which is what Bletchley is exhibiting, isn't.

    It's almost as if the wrong organisation is getting all the sponsorship.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Bombe is apparently also owned by the computer museum so will probably be moved there also.

      1. TNMOC peter

        Bombe ownership

        "The Bombe is apparently also owned by the computer museum so will probably be moved there also."

        No, it is not owned by us, but is owned by a separate group/trust, so another exhibit that BPT do not own or can get their mitts on. As to it moving... I don't know - we are pretty full with exhibits.

        Colossus is also not owned by us but by a trust formed from Tony Sales estate and 2 others I believe and is not going anywhere. This ensures, in the unlikely event that TNMOC fails, it does not automatically go to BPT.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "It's almost as if the wrong organisation is getting all the sponsorship."

      Well, as lotteries have been described as a tax on stupidity (and government officials may have been involved), that's what you'd expect. At least the whole affair is consistent.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't Google donate lots of money to one of these organisation ... if so then there's an obvious opportunity of Apple to take their feud with Google to another level!

    1. messele

      Ok who had Apple on the first page on their 'Irrelevant Bingo' card?

    2. TNMOC peter

      Google & Apple

      "Didn't Google donate lots of money to one of these organisation ... if so then there's an obvious opportunity of Apple to take their feud with Google to another level!"

      Google donated £500,000 to BPT a few years back and may have put more money in since.

      Google have also helped TNMOC with sponsoring our education program for the past 2 years and also sponsored our newly opened "Women in Computing" gallery, also supplying most of the interactive hardware for it.

      We welcome any financial donations from any company big or small, without which we could not have made the world-leading computer museum that we have.


  11. Yet Another Commentard

    Not sure I understand this...

    Volunteer gets fired for showing important museum exhibit to interested museum visitors?

    What next, Natural History Museum curator fired for showing dinosaur bone fossil to interested schoolchildren?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Not sure I understand this...

      FFS don’t give the creationists ideas!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure I understand this...

      What next, Natural History Museum curator fired for showing dinosaur bone fossil to interested schoolchildren?

      A British Museum attendant once allowed a visitor from the Far East look round their oriental collection which at the time was in a part of the museum that was closed due to some structural problems with the building. Result was a few weeks later the visitor contacted the museum to say the he wanted the collection to be open for everyone to see and he was prepared to pay for a new gallery for it

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Not sure I understand this...

      Geology graduate sanctioned for doing unpaid geology work?

    4. Robert McGregor

      Re: Not sure I understand this...

      New grounds for sacking due to Gross-Misconduct:

      "The employee appeared to be doing his job in an extremely efficient and helpful way"

      1. Chairo

        Re: Not sure I understand this...

        and he even did it for free - how horrendous!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gross-Misconduct

        Sounds like government employee union rules.

      3. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Not sure I understand this...

        "...New grounds for sacking due to Gross-Misconduct:

        "The employee appeared to be doing his job in an extremely efficient and helpful way""

        If you don't think this happens every day, have I got news for you.

        I lost my last job for just this reason.

  12. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


    I feel like banging some heads together to make them see sense. Stop squabbling, stop acting like 5-year-old kids in a playground, and be of service to the community. Colossus and the H-blocks are an essential part of world history. They should be open to the public, they should be part and parcel of computing history as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Appalling!

      Ah - that's the key difference between the two parties: the volunteer party was indeed doing for the benefit of the community. The new party gives presently more the impression it's just in it for themselves.

    2. Sheridan Williams

      Re: Appalling!

      It's only £2 to see Colossus or £5 for the whole National Museum of Computing. You can visit this without paying £15 to see B Park.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Future of work

    Mass tourism is now a source of employment in the UK, so has attracted management who have goals and responsilities beyond showing off the local sites of interest. What to a volunteer is an interesting building with historical associations has become a career for someone.


    1. CaptainHook

      Re: Future of work

      exactly, there's money to be made

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Law of Unintended Consequences

    I have a feeling that once Bletchley Park erect their fences to stop their visitors seeing the computers, many of their potential visitors may opt to visit the National Museum of Computing instead, and give Bletchley Park itself a miss.

    Part of the attraction of the place is the old volunteers with their stories of how things were. Take them away and the magic will be lost. Shame on these management idiots.

    1. Evan Essence

      Re: The Law of Unintended Consequences

      Is it possible, though, to access the National Museum of Computing without also paying for access to Bletchley Park?

      1. Evan Essence

        Re: The Law of Unintended Consequences

        (Too late to Edit: a later posting links to Visit the National Museum of Computing which says that yes, it is possible to visit just the Museum.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Law of Unintended Consequences

      For the ignorant, what is at bletchley park if not the computer?

  15. Malcolm Catling

    One of the main reasons I used to go was to see the Colossus and the museum of computing. I am actively dissuading people from going now, just had visitors from USA and directed them elsewhere (Duxford). If a modern gift shop is planned it would be a tragedy, So petty, and sad for the volunteers who made it a great experience.

    1. Evan Essence

      I went to Bletchley some years ago, and they had a gift shop then. Par for the course, nothing wrong with one per se. I bought a couple of books and a Bletchley-themed tea towel, which is still in regular use.

    2. Not That Andrew

      Why stop people going to the National Museum of Computing? They have done nothing wrong it's the PHB's up at Bletchly Park are at fault.

  16. GettinSadda

    Coming Soon...

    I hear that they are waiting for approval of a nice grant to bulldoze the entire site and build an Enigma-themed attraction with rides and fast-food joints. Just think of how much profit they'll make!!

  17. hooch

    Sad, sad, sad.

    Visit Bletchley Park and be prevented from viewing Colossus? Just what planet are these people living on? It sounds like the marketing droids have taken over. I had the pleasure of Tony Sale showing us Colossus a few years ago as part of the Bletchley Tour but must be turning in his grave. Sort it out!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sad, sad, sad.

      Visit Bletchley Park and be prevented from viewing Colossus? Just what planet are these people living on?

      Sadly they're probably on the new planet where everything is about feelings and not facts. Who wants to look at a boring machine when you can read about the people who worked there and see the important messages of how lots of women did important things, we can feel as sense of smug superiority when we can celebrate Turing being gay, etc etc.

      Its the modern way of museums. Bristol used to have an "Industrial Museum" which covered various industries that had been established in Bristol - especially a gallery on aerospace industry full of Rolls-Royce engines etc. That has now become "the M:shed" and is mainly about what a diverse multicultral community Bristol is and how we all get one with each other etc ... there's a small bit about industry - aerospace is reduced to a Harrier engine and a small bit of text and, as far as I have seen, there's no mention whatsoever of the high-tech microelectronics industries in the area. And, when it was being converted the main features that seem to be advertised about what was coming was that the new "museum" would have "a huge atrium entrance with shop" and "a greate cafe"

      The other modern direction for museums, exemplified by the rejigged Egyptian section of Bristol City Museum, is to convert museum sections in to Key Stage 2 learning resources.

      1. Mint Sauce

        Re: Sad, sad, sad.

        Its the modern way of museums. Bristol used to have an "Industrial Museum"

        This is the first thing that came into my head as I was reading...

        If you want to see the true horror of what awaits, visit the M-Shed in Bristol. Gone are most of the interesting exhibits that stimulated the imagination and interest. Instead we have small text panels, large photos, and lots of 'audio experiences'

        Adults are no longer welcome in this excuse for a museum, it's just for spoonfeeding kids tiny snippets of information so they're not taxed too much by having to actually think for themselves.

        Hope BP doesn't go the same way :-(

      2. coastwalker

        Re: Sad, sad, sad.

        Don't worry, this country doesn't need engineers or scientists, what it needs are social workers to look after the half of the country who are unemployed and living on benefits.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Sad, sad, sad.

          "Don't worry, this country doesn't need engineers or scientists, what it needs are social workers to look after the half of the country who are unemployed and living on benefits."

          ...while being blamed for their "shortcomings" and "laziness."

      3. Trixr

        Re: Sad, sad, sad.

        Oh shut up. This anti-social history bandwagon you're apparently on has absolutely nothing to do with this moron acting like a complete c*ck.

        Actually, the people story is part of the story of the technology. The technology should not be made subordinate to the people story, no, but how many books/articles have you read about the development of transistors and the IC that don't mention Shockley, Kilby, Noyce et al?

        So yeah, not everyone who worked with the technology was a straight white man. Get over it and focus on the real issue here - yes, the potential "dumbing down" of the exhibits, but in this instance it's primarily about management who don't have a clue about what visitors are there for.

    2. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: Sad, sad, sad.

      Doesn't sound like you're prevented from from seeing Collosus per se. Merely that if you go to Bletchley, you have to pay separately to go into NMC to see Collosus, which is lunacy. Everyone involved needs their heads smashing together with the force of a Bombe, or just firing. There should be a simple "site pass" that covers the multiple attractions/museums on the site.

      It sounds like NMC have been lobbying for just such a site pass and revenue share scheme but Bletchley have declined. Of course we don't know what those discussions were like or whether either party were being reasonable with what they wanted percentage-wise.

    3. hooch

      Re: Sad, sad, sad.

      ...and here is the official 'spin'.

      They really don't get it, do they?

      1. Blitterbug
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sad, sad, sad.

        Thanks, hooch. They have a 'Contact Us' link so I helpfully alerted them to the coming shitstorm caused by their crass behaviour, and included the URL of this article.

        1. Evan Essence

          Re: Sad, sad, sad.

          I'm sure they're very well aware of the shitstorm. The story's all over: The Independent yesterday, local papers, IT Web sites (apart from the venerable Reg, of course), etc. Google "Tony Carroll Bletchley", for instance.

          1. Blitterbug

            Re: Sad, sad, sad.

            I'm sure they are well aware too, but it doesn't hurt to register formal disapproval on their actual website

  18. Ed 13

    Seen it many times before

    It's a sad reflection on human nature, unfortunately.

    I have seen it occur a number of times in different organisations where volunteer labour is used. Someone volunteering there is doing it because they like it, and think it's a worthwhile cause, so the usual relationship between the company and employee doesn't exist.

    Combined with some peoples tendencies to let a little power go to their head, and suddenly they think they are running ICI.

    I'm sure they'll work it out, but I suspect the path will be littered with further incidents like this, which will help no-one at all, which is a pity as it wastes effort and demoralises others.

  19. Chemist

    "heroic codebreakers of Bletchley Park"

    innovative, hard-working, painstaking, exhausted, essential and lots of other positive adjectives - yes but heroic ?

    1. auburnman

      Re: "heroic codebreakers of Bletchley Park"

      Given they were seen as draft-dodgers and spat on in the street, not allowed to tell anyone they were a vital part of the war effort, although their lives weren't on the line I would say heroic is a borderline acceptable descriptor.

    2. eddystone82

      Re: "heroic codebreakers of Bletchley Park"

      Probably more heroic than footballers, etc who are described as heroic these days.


      Re: "heroic codebreakers of Bletchley Park"

      They were heroes. So they were heroic by definition.

  20. Graham Triggs

    Need to know more detail, but...

    Everything I've heard about what is going on at Bletchley Park suggests that Lottery funding should be withdrawn, until they come up with a better plan that includes the National Museum of Computing.

    And very serious questions should be asked both of the BP management, but also the lottery until this resolved.

    1. Evan Essence

      Re: Need to know more detail, but...

      I wonder what role the Heritage Lottery Fund has in this. They keep tight control of their projects and insist on certain things happening or not happening. He who pays the piper, etc.

  21. YetAnotherPasswordToRemeber

    I went to Bletchley Park a few years back and the National Museum of Computing was as good as anything else at Bletchley so I don't understand this as Colssus was a significant part of the effort at Bletchley, so the one ticket should get you into both things.

  22. PeterO

    Just to clear up some misunderstandings. You are (and will) will still be able to view Colossus by visiting The National Museum of Computing rather than the Bletchley Park trust's site. Colossus gallery is open every day, the rest of TNMOC is open Thursday,Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

    See for full details.

  23. Jedit Silver badge

    How ironic it is that people are being prevented from seeing a vital piece of the history of Hitler's defeat by exactly the kind of banally evil bureaucrat he would have loved.

  24. Stern Fenster

    Just what we need...

    More f***ing Unskilled Management suits screwing up something that worked in order to further their own miserable kiddie-brained mini-empire. How much is this dim ignorant half-arsed principle-less space-wasting excrement-lobed cognitively-flatulent smug gutless cowardly sneak-weaselling spunk-bubble of a so-called CEO paid, do you think? More than a volunteer? Let me guess...

    Disgusting scum. Just like in the NHS.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Just what we need...

      " ... dim ignorant half-arsed principle-less space-wasting excrement-lobed cognitively-flatulent smug gutless cowardly sneak-weaselling spunk-bubble ..."

      You, sir, are a poet! Have one on me -------->

    2. Tel

      Re: Just what we need...

      Hmm. Am I to infer that you don't like the man? ;)

      (FWIW, I agree with you. A lobotomised monkey would appear to be able to do the job better.)

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Just what we need...

      Poet indeed! Have another on me! ---------------------------->>

  25. MJI Silver badge

    I wanted to go.

    But no Colossus no visit.

    Oh and I want elderly people who know the place intimately to show me around.

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: I wanted to go.

      If you want to see Colossus go to the Computing Museum... its probably more interesting than the rest of Bletchley Park for a Reg reader and costs £5 to get in rather than £15. Or if you just want to see Colossus and not the rest of the Museum it only costs £2.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: I wanted to go.

        Oh well it will be a shorter trip.

        Colossus is the thing I would most want to see.

  26. JayBizzle

    If ever there was a time for El Reg to launch some campaign journalism, then this might be it. A noble cause to get those short sighted idiots to sort their lives out. Sacking a volunteer for being interesting and ensuring a more complete view of history is given is an absolute joke.

  27. Billa Bong


    When the ceo was asked what he says to those unwilling to subscribe to the wrong decision he's made, he says "thank you for your service". In other words, you're fired. You can't read it any other way. I love the way he says it and then contradicts the reporter who translates this common English phrase for him. He even laughs about it!

    If this is who we're putting valuable computing history in the hands of, I am very worried. How long before he removes "unnecessary" exhibits to make way for jam and t-towels, I wonder.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battle for Bletchley

      Statement from Bletchley Park just issued: wow, not even hint of an apology. What this masquerades as is: volunteer steps back into line, will get on with core business, protecting national heritage, stuff the alien outside the gates.


      The accusation that Lottery award was based on false facts re Colossus has been avoided, of course. This deserves investigation in my view.

  28. jb99

    I don't understand

    Can someone explain what has happened here?

    I don't understand what the organisations involved are, the connection between them, or what exactly has happened. The article doesn't seem to explain that very well...

    1. TNMOC peter

      Re: I don't understand

      Should explain things.

      1. Evan Essence

        Re: I don't understand

        Thanks for the link to the TNMOC trustees' statement. They're paying £100k per year in rent to the Bletchley Park Trust!

        The National Musum of Computing needs money, and donations are matched, thanks to a generous donor, up to £1million.

      2. Felix Krull

        Re: I don't understand

        Thanks, interesting link.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Mnot Paranoid

      Re: I don't understand

      Thank you for saying this, I thought it was just me.

  29. Admiral Grace Hopper

    umount -f Toys

    I go to the National Museum of Computing once a year, largely to see how the ICL2900 is getting along, but because it puts me back in touch with why I love this discipline and trade so much. I usually combine it with a spin around Bletchley Park itself as well, a practice which has given me the privilege of rubbing shoulders with WRENs who worked at BP in the war. Sadly it looks as though my next visit to the NMoC will be just that and no more as I don't want to reward this behaviour; it's childish, spiteful and short-sighted.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: umount -f Toys

      re the ICL2900 - we had an ICL at uni - it was a plastic box with a red light and the letters 'HARDWARE FAULT' written on it.

  30. PJI

    total agreement with all the upset above

    What is more: we keep being told that we are all ageing and must stay involved, active, working. Then some numbskull careerist, as shown in the film, believes he is being progressive by "moving forward" into denigrating and sacking older volunteers who know more, have done more and are worth infinitely more than his ilk.

    Problem is, volunteers of whatever standing have less protection and respect than the worst jobsworth who is employed, even those jobsworths employed with public money.

  31. Anonymous Coward


    One wonders if Iain Standen would pass a Turing Test.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Madness

      Or even a Voight-Kampff test, come to that.

  32. Mystic Megabyte

    A new role

    Iain Standen should be made curator of one of the sunken U-boats that surround the UK.

    I will supply the lead boots.

  33. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Professional charities, I've never understood it.

  34. RoboJ1M

    If I can't see the computing, I'm not going there.

    In fact I'm now so worried I've missed the boat I may rush there at the weekend before they turn it into some ghastly chrome and glass visitors centre with an animatronic Turing.

    1. David Barrett

      If its the computers you are after you will still be able to go to the national museum of computing...

      You just wont be able to see them if you only pay for admission to Bletchley park.

      Basically they are two separate things on the same site, pay for one or the other or both, its your call *

      * Though because their history is so intertwined it makes no sense to have it like this, but that's the way it is for now

      1. JEDIDIAH

        > Basically they are two separate things on the same site, pay for one or the other or both, its your call *

        It's useful to have a heads up either way. It would be a shame to fly across the pond and then schlep all the way up there and miss out because of a misunderstanding fueled by petty politics and the egos of tiny men.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Although I would be amused to hear what the animatronic Turing would say! If it was any kind of realistic replica, it might be scathing. Turing was no respecter of persons, and did not mince his words or suffer fools gladly.

      "His high pitched voice already stood out above the general murmur of well-behaved junior executives grooming themselves for promotion within the Bell corporation. Then he was suddenly heard to say: 'No, I'm not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I'm after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.' (In the Bell Labs cafeteria, New York, 1943)".

      - Alan Hodges (Alan Turing: the Enigma of Intelligence, page 251).

  35. vulcan

    What would happen if a visitor to BP asked to see Colossus or asked where it was, would the guides deny all knowledge or phyisically prevent them from going to the NMoC?

    1. David Barrett

      They will probably have a picture of it with a plaque under it saying that it was dismantled after the war and failing to mention the rebuilt one just round the corner....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If my experience in work is anything to go by, yes they would deny all knowledge of it. Then when the CEO/managers back is turned say "oh, it's great, they do a discount on such and such days, the coffee is better than ours, and the tour chaps are great!". :)

  36. wolfetone Silver badge

    I had the pleasure of having a tour with Tony, and I'm stunned that he's been sacked for effectively giving an overall picture of World War 2 code breaking. Collossus is integral to the story of Bletchley, regardless whether it is part of Bletchley or part of the Museum.

    It broke my heart to see that man in tears being told not to come back. The problem is that, as with everything, people get a bit of money when they've had nothing and trample on the people who helped them when they had nothing. I remember when those huts were rotting and they were trying to raise money to refurbish them. Now they have lottery funding, it's all change. I'm disgusted.

    I'm planning another trip to Bletchley, but I'm damn sure it won't be to see the Park but to go to the Museum. And any money I may have donated will be going to them, not to the charlatans at Bletchley.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'I had the pleasure of having a tour with Tony, and I'm stunned that he's been sacked for effectively giving an overall picture of World War 2 code breaking. Collossus is integral to the story of Bletchley, regardless whether it is part of Bletchley or part of the Museum.'

      Unfortunately Tony Sale died a few years ago

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Unfortunately Tony Sale died a few years ago

        The article is about Tony Carroll, not the late Tony Sale.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          I did mean Tony Carroll. Mr.Sale unfortunately died before I had even heard of Bletchley Park.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Relationships with the Trust have always been problemmatic - Tony Sale in his time also had major arguments over his work on rebuilding Colossus...

  37. jason 7

    It's all part of the plan. To sell the area off.

    You spend a little money, tinkering with the place. Get rid of its wartime charm, get rid of the people that have a passion for the place. Turn it into a soulless 'info-graphic activity centre' run by teenagers selling expensive crisps and botanical lemonade in the cafe and let the attendance drop and drop.

    You then move the big stuff into a single unit re-brand it and then sell/demolish the rest for housing development and make a huge fortune. That's prime London commuter land there!

    I'm glad I went 5 years ago before they ruined it. A great day out and I loved talking to the older guys there. Having people that understand what they are talking about rather than just knowing a script is priceless.

    I was also shocked they are getting rid of a lot of the huge Churchill memorabilia collection some guy had graciously lent them for years.

    Ungrateful *****!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all part of the plan. To sell the area off.

      Many of the items on loan are being recovered by the owners.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: It's all part of the plan. To sell the area off.

      This is exactly what's happened to Chatsworth since the old Duke died. The new Duke has sold off half the contents of the House, and doubled all the prices. I took a friend there last summer and we were horrified at the prices, and just spent several hours walking around the park instead.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: It's all part of the plan. To sell the area off.

      The trouble is that the Trust has already sold off most of the park for housing, leaving only the most significant huts standing. So a visitor today doesn't get the same sense of operational scale as someone who worked there or visited in the 1990's.

      1. DB2DBA

        Re: It's all part of the plan. To sell the area off.

        If that's the case, why do they call it a "trust"?

        Trust: the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: It's all part of the plan. To sell the area off.

          "If that's the case, why do they call it a "trust"?"

          It's a "trust" because you can trust them to make a profit by selling the family silver.

          You can also trust them to walk away relatively unscathed while it all falls assunder.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's all part of the plan. To sell the area off.


          If that's the case, why do they call it a "trust"?

          Trust: the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted."

          Big argument kicked off in Spalding town in the East Midlands. The Park that was given to the *community/public* under trust of the council that had a *private* football pitch built on it, though arguably still for the "recreation of the community" is now going to be sold to *private* stores and supermarkets for "the recreation of the community". Of cause, the funds for the sale of a *publicly entrusted* property is going to the council.

          So sadly, they seem to find a way to ruin the parks and attractions, even when lawfully protected.

  38. Triggerfish

    That was not nice

    That was unpleasant viewing.

    Its dumb to get rid of the knowledgeable old guys who are genuinely enthusiastic about what they show anyway, they're usually the best tour guides, and hell if its a charity then surely them working for free is a good thing?

    But to do it like that to the guy says you have to be a complete fucking wanker as well.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: That was not nice

      "knowledgeable old guys" (and gals).

      They are made of stern stuff. They lived through a war or two. You can't buy that kind of training.

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. jason 7

    Take a look at the Twit feed - @BParkCEO

    Apparently, it's all crossed wires and misinterpretation by the BBC.

    Looks like back peddling Partridge style to me.

    "Get rid of Pat!"

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Bigbird3141

      Re: Take a look at the Twit feed - @BParkCEO

      He seems to think he's the victim - he's invoking Martin Luther King

  41. Johan Bastiaansen

    A solid effort . . .

    But it looks like the nazi's won in the long run.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Managers stopped managing years ago

    Now it's simply a case of do what I say.

  43. gryff

    Fire a volunteer? What?

    How do you fire a volunteer?

    Isn't there a part of volunteering that is, well, voluntary? As opposed to being obligued to show up and put up as an employee?

    1. David Barrett

      Re: Fire a volunteer? What?

      A good point, what would they do if he started turning up every day, paying £15 admission and giving *FREE* tours...

      He could start a small business sitting outside the gate with a sign, "Pay for me to come in, buy me a tea and Ill tell you the *REAL* story".

      Personally Id rather take him in than some 17 year old from the local college who thinks that that Steve Jobs invented computers in 1999....

  44. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    What? I thought Bletchley === Nation Computing Museum.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What? I thought Bletchley === Nation Computing Museum.

      I always thought the same soI was quite confused when I looked up details about visitng and found two different websites with different prices/opening times/etc. In the end didn't go put intend to some time soon ... though all this coverage has clarified that its probably the Computing Museum bit that I actually want to go to.

  45. alain williams Silver badge

    Phone them, tell them what you think

    I just did (01908 640404), I had been asked to organise an outing there - but it will prob not happen, there now seems to be little point.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: Phone them, tell them what you think

      You can still take the outing to the National Museum of Computing though, just miss out the boring stuff and expensive tat up at Bletchley Park.

  46. Chandalf


    In a sentence, I visited Bletchley a couple of years ago and it would not have been anything without being able to visit ALL the parts.

    1. DiViDeD

      Re: WTF?

      Couldn't agree more! I visited BP several times in the late nineties and early naughties, before moving to the Arse end of Trailer.

      To be able to explore the grounds, what remained of the accommodation and work huts, and simply to listen to the stories of people who'd BEEN there, who'd worked on Enigma codes, watched, or even participated in the build of the Bombes and Colossus, hearing a man explain about how many awkward, geeky but brilliant men found themselves thrown into the company of some of the most attractive and intelligent women (many daughters of landed families found themselves posted to BP rather than be put into danger, and many dalliances and even marriages came about among two groups of people who would never have even met had it not been for the war effort), to hear how the girls who transcribed the messages were knitting and chatting while they worked, from the actual girls themselves.

      I remember going round the rooms full of ancient computers, looking at the System 36 that was being lovingly restored by volunteers, and coming within an inch of saying 'You can have all my free weekends if you let me work on this stuff'.

      No Infographics or 'audio experiences', little in the way of archive footage, but I'll bet you won't find anywhere near the MAGIC once Mr pencil neck has finished 'moving it forward'

  47. Tanuki
    Thumb Down


    This sort of behaviour seems nothing new - they booted the Milton Keynes amateur radio society out a while back, too.

    1. Chris Suslowicz

      Re: Fail.

      The Diplomatic Wireless Collection also left (or was more likely kicked out) sometime last year, apparently.

      They really do not have even a hint of a clue about how to operate an attractive museum - all the "non-core" exhibits (that family and relatives could enjoy while you enjoyed the technical/historical bits), such as the cinema, model railway, vehicle collection, toy collection, Churchill memorabilia, etc. have been lost, and it will no longer be suitable for a "family day out".

      Perhaps the 'divide and destroy' plan is to eventually flatten it for housing development?

      On another note: wolves still doing well?

  48. Eradicate all BB entrants

    A complete shame as I .....

    ..... was planning to take the boy down this year for a tour.

    Ah well back to Elvington Air Museum as they let you climb into some exhibits, has fantastic volunteers and from the grassy knoll you can watch track day guys on the runway trash someones Ferrari.

    1. WaveyDavey


      Yes, go to Elvington - still runs in the spirit of a true exhibit. (Disclaimer: I know this as my 73yo dad volunteers there. )

      The head man is a bit of a cock (would enjoy lots of gold braid on hit epaulettes, if you know what I mean), though you are unlikely to see him, but the volunteers are all enthusiastic codgers, who rebuild, refurbish and repair the original kit.

      The "Thunder-run" days, where they have some of the big planes whizzing down the runway on full song are supposed to be rather good.

      Pa just been given a Vulcan 763 14-cylinder radial to rebuild - been packed in storage oil or whatnot for decades. Might take him a little while.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Elvington

        Damn - I did a skidpan day there a couple of years back* and the old boy on the gates let us in while they were closing up afterwards - didn't know you could sniff around the exhibits or get that close to them internally.

        Might have to book a track day over there and go again, although this time rather than skidding around in a Ford Focus, I might see if Bookatrack to any days up there, and open my car up around it. Methinks poking around WW2 era aircraft and whatnot would be a good chillout session afterwards.

        Back on topic, I have a few mates around the Bletchly Park area (well, within an hours drive - methinks I'll have to have a look at the NMOC and show some support.

        *For reference, it was a DriverSkills day - and apropos of nothing, I'd suggest that if the opportunity arises to do a skidpan/car control day, grab it with both hands, it'll transform your behaviour behind the wheel.

        1. Vic

          Re: Elvington

          I'd suggest that if the opportunity arises to do a skidpan/car control day, grab it with both hands, it'll transform your behaviour behind the wheel.


          I forget the exact stats, but an enormous percentage - almost all, in fact - of road accidents are preceded by an uncontrolled skid. But the first time most people get to experience a total loss of control is when it happens for real...


          1. Steven Raith

            Re: Elvington

            I'd go with those stats - very few accidents are actuallly head on.

            Almost no-one realises just how quickly any car - without exception - will bite you if you take the piss without having a decent amount of experience of how it behaves over the limit.

            Skidpan days make you aware of that, and make you less likely to get into a silly situation; and if you do get into one (by accident or, er, on purpose, not that I'd suggest that ;-) ) give you more of a chance of keeping it rubber side down and out of a ditch.

            Well worth the couple of hundred quid, I'd say.

            Anyway, sorry, carry on....

            Steven R

  49. alderley

    It sounds like a parable for the sad decline of the British computer industry - innovation, hard work and loyalty, ultimately destroyed by incompetent and self-serving management.

  50. mythicalduck

    I've been wanting to visit the park for a while, but not had the time. I was trying to find some this year, but seems like it's almost a waste of effort now :(

    Sad duck is sad

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sacking" for first offence


    What was wrong with a quiet word on the side. Idiot-at-top should be publicly bollocked for incompetence in man management, and then sacked for bringing the trust into disrepute (the trustees duty is to the good of the trust, and that CEO has obviously dented public confidence in the trust). No severance pay, do not pass Go etc though perhaps they could put him on litter-picking duty while he works his notice period.

  52. Robert Sneddon


    From reading a bit about the situation I get the idea that there are actually two organisations based close together on the same site, the National Museum of Computing which has a reconstruction of the Colossus code-breaking computer as well as a lot of other non-WWII-based computing exhibits and on the other side of the fence (if there is a fence) there is the Bletchley Park historical site. It apparently costs £5 to enter the NMC and £15 to visit Bletchely Park. The guide in question was apparently taking Bletchley Park visitors on a trip into the NMC without paying to show them the Colossus reconstruction and got into trouble for doing so. Is that about right?

    Putting together a museum of mostly-donated computer equipment is a lot less expensive than restoring a lot of old buildings, many of them built quickly and shoddily during the war, converted for other uses afterwards and then left to rot for a few decades. As far as I can tell from the press reports the £8 million from the Lottery fund mentioned has gone exclusively to the Bletchley Park restoration project and not been used to pay for anything in the NMC, even the Colossus reconstruction.

    It might have been better to site the NMC away from Bletchley Park but having the two close together has been an advantage for the visitor interested in such things despite the confusion in some people's minds that they are all part of the same organisation.

    1. Bigbird3141

      Re: Conflation?

      The contents of the two are inextricably linked - BP in particular makes no sense without Colossus. Moving them apart would be daft.

      1. David Barrett

        Re: Conflation?

        "he contents of the two are inextricably linked - BP in particular makes no sense without Colossus. Moving them apart would be daft."

        That's the point though, BP trust are erecting a physical fence (At least that's what I have read) to keep them separate, they don't want Colossus to be part of BP, probably because it is part of the NMOC and they would have to pay for their guests to access it....

    2. TNMOC peter

      Re: Conflation?

      "It might have been better to site the NMC away from Bletchley Park but having the two close together has been an advantage for the visitor interested in such things despite the confusion in some people's minds that they are all part of the same organisation."

      TNMOC is in Block H where 8 of the original colossus machines were housed during the war, so a very appropriate and fitting location to have the rebuilt colossus and start the computing story. BPT were planning to knock the building down (where the rebuilt colossus was housed) and sell off the land for housing so TNMOC was formed and signed a lease agreement as the only way to save it.

      1. Andy Taylor

        Re: Conflation?

        Block H also happens to be the first purpose-built computer building in the world.

        Block F, where the Mk 1 Colossus was first switched on, was demolished and is currently an open grassed area.

    3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Conflation? @ Robert Sneddon

      So right, but sooooooo completely wrong it beggars belief.

      Are you a manager?

  53. Bigbird3141

    Entry to BP is £15. Entry to TNMOC is £5.

    You don't need to pay the BP entry fee to visit TNMOC and see Colossus. I know what I'll be doing soon.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its much worse than any of the stories have told so far

    As explained in detail by an 'insider'

    There is still a lot to come out yet.... and I hope it will.

    I wonder what HLF will think if they know their (and our) lottery money has been used to errect gates and fences to isolate TNMOC. In fact I beleive the BPT lottery funding application stated that Colossus was an integral part of the visitor experience. Does not sound like an organisation that wants to discuss any solution to the conflict.

    BPT have been trying to take over or kick out TNMOC for several years and now they know it will never happen they intend to isolate them in petty fued in an attempt to make them fail.

    And its not just Standon here.... he is just a puppet for the trustees. They are just jelous of the success that TNMOC have had with very little money - go and see the new galleries!.

    TNMOC have paid BPT in excess of £500,000 over the past few years in rent with not a single word of thanks. Between 2006 and 2011 TNMOC allowed free access to any BP visitor to view Tunny and Colossus and the rest of the computer museum - at the same time paying BPT £75K/year for the priviledge and recevinging NO money from BP gate receipts, the government or lottery. Only after long and sometimes frustrating discussions BPT did TNMOC reluctantly imposed a charge in order to survive.

    BPT are intent on causing as much distrution as possible at the expense of the general public and the history of BP.

    I urge anyone who does not intend to visit BP to visit TNMOC and support them in their attempts to resolve this situation which is not of their making. In visiting TNMOC you do not have to pay any entrance fee to BP or pay any parking charges. The guides and volunteers (many of which were former BPT guides that were kicked out) at TNMOC are a very welcoming and informed group and have the full backing of the TNMOC trustees and management (unlike BPT). Opening details on

    1. Evan Essence

      Re: Its much worse than any of the stories have told so far

      Thanks for the link. Shocking, disgraceful.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its much worse than any of the stories have told so far

      You Sir/Madam deserve a medal for the information you've supplied over a computing platform there. Invaluable.

      Anon, left as a computing exercise for the reader. ;)

    3. Rol

      Re: Its much worse than any of the stories have told so far

      One gets the impression BPTrust is playing the time honoured tradition of cost loading, to the point of uneconomic viability.

      The trust is not there to maintain BP and guarantee its future, it seems it is there to orchestrate its demise.

      As many comments have mentioned, much of the freely donated, minimum expense exhibits are going out of the door to be replaced by poorer quality stand ins, that require capital outlay and or continuous maintenance.

      Getting rid of the people who were there at the beginning, when the ethos of the site was being formulated is the first step towards rewriting their raison d'être, and thus removing all obstacles to bulldozing down the site, banging in a load of houses and paying lip service to it all, by mounting a statue to Hitler, who they consider to be the true inspiration behind Bletchley.

      Makes my blood boil.

      I can think of thousands of people who would gladly move in tomorrow and replace every last one of the paid staff, for nothing more than a pat on the back, every once in a while.

      and I'll wager money they would do a far better job and carry forward the very values that appear to be on the sacrificial alter under the present regime.

  55. Martin Milan

    You're doing it wrong...

    Just tweeted the below to @bparkceo...

    You know what? If you find yourself running a charitable trust, one charged with preserving the memory of a remarkable group of people who secured your freedoms, and you describe yourself as the “Chief Executive Officer”, you’re doing it wrong.

    If you preside over a regime where, when I call to establish the facts BEFORE complaining to the National Heritage Fund, I’m told “There is a statement on the website and that is all I can say…”, you’re doing it wrong. If you don’t recognise the irony of having this regime in a place so instrumental in preserving your own liberty to think and speak as you feel, you’re doing it wrong.

    If you really do consider yourself unaccountable to the public, you’re doing it wrong.

    If you think it’s acceptable to receive money from the Heritage Fund, and then even consider erecting fencing to prevent people visiting Colossus, even if it is hosted by another body, you’re doing it wrong.

    If you’re prepared to squander the most precious resource you have - namely the elderly volunteers who have both a knowledge and enthusiasm for the place of which you can only dream, you’re doing it VERY wrong.

    If you’re really are doing things THAT wrong, then its time to consider stepping aside in favour of someone who knows how to do it right - and I can point you toward a few elderly volunteer types who would be one hell of a first guess.

    1. John Hughes

      Re: You're doing it wrong...

      How did you fit that in 140 characters?

      1. Martin Milan

        Re: You're doing it wrong...

        I used twitlonger...

      2. Evan Essence

        Re: You're doing it wrong...

        Short link in the tweet to TwitLonger

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TNMoC might not be blameless

    Given the experiences at least one other computer museum has had at the hands of the TNMoC leadership (not the volunteers, who are great) I can't blame the Bletchley Park Trust for wanting to put a wall between the two organisations.

  57. RiJon


    My wife's Nan worked at Bletchley Park and although by the time I knew her she was a shadow of her former self I was really hoping I'd be able to take our daughter there when she was older. As I want her to see things as they were so she could not only see the machines but get an idea of the environment that these amazing people worked in, now it appears that this will all be behind glass with shiny walkways and even shinier tour guides. Such a shame.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A contributor ?

    The death of the British computing industry, as with much else, is littered with the "leadership" of people like Iain Standen.

    What actual contribution has he ever made to the economy that was built around the experiences of people who worked at this historic place ? Would he have been part of the spirit of co-operation that was necessary for Bletchley to make so many breakthroughs ? Perhaps he was someone who thought that Collossus was not the way forward ?

    I hope that someone somewhere can get at the Trust and ensure that he is censured for these actions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A contributor ?

      Down voted for suggesting the buru-prat should be simply censured not fired. Otherwise completely agree.

  59. stevel

    Frankly shocking, but not really surprising I spose, given recent interest and money going there.

    Bletchley certainly seems to get the lion's share of the media coverage, with TNMOC often portrayed as a bit of a sideshow.

    I also went there a couple of years ago, and saw the *whole* thing with a fantastic guide who had lots of insights into both Bletchley's history *AND* the history of computing. For me, the two things are so closely related it's just sad to see this sort of division happening.

    +1 for Michael H.F. Wilkinson's comment about banging heads together.

  60. Howard Long

    Following their epic PR fail, BPT "requested" the BBC to remove the clip. It is referenced by one Ebon Upton on slashdot

    Original copy was here, now 404's.

    Ebon Upton took a screen shot prior to the full take-down, now hosted on his OH's site:

    Luckily the BBC footage survives on Youtube, although who knows for how long bearing in mind the efforts already used by BPT to gag the Beeb?

    BPT also received money from Google, but i am sure Google will be scratching their heads as to why now.

    The chain link fence erected by BPT is as pathetic as it is a waste of donors' money. I'd love them to explain the justification of that to the Lottery Heritage fund.

    Tip for BPT: work together, not against each other. The sum is far greater than the parts.

    1. PeterO

      BBC content was removed due a copyright issue. It's back now with just one "still frame" of a picture removed near the beginning of the piece.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        BBC content was removed due a copyright issue. It's back now with just one "still frame" of a picture removed near the beginning of the piece.

        So, looks like BPT used "copyright infringement" as an excuse to "require" BBC to take the clip down.

        1. Fred Dibnah

          The clip is still here:

          My partner and I visited BP a couple of years ago, and the 'non-museum' feel of the place was entirely appropriate given its secret origins. The volunteer guide we had was brilliant, and the tour wouldn't have made sense if it hadn't finished off with Colossus. Tony Sale (I think) was tending the computer, and his enthusiasm was totally infectious.

          I hate to think what the place will become after Mr Standen and his minions have done their worst.

          Is there a petition we can sign to protest?

          1. James Hughes 1

            FFS. It's Eben not Ebon.

            He's been in the news enough, you'd hope people would know how to spell his name by now.

            (And for those who have been on Mars for the last two years, look up Raspberry Pi)

  61. Chris Hunt

    Another account of the mess being made of Bletchley Park:

    Bletchley Park plan to “cull old and infirm”

    1. jason 7

      Oh dear it's just as I feared.

      It will become like much of Greenwich. I went there last November and the huge Greenwich exhibit was just bland and soulless. Just a load of pictures and objects with a couple of paragraphs explaining them.

      Incredibly dull.

    2. bitmap animal

      Do sad, losing the ability to interact.

      That is really sad, the knowledgeable guides are 'interactive', you can ask them questions and get answers that could never come from a standard script. This seems to be another step towards people becoming just consumers of entertainment rather than being involved – like sitting in front of the TV eating popcorn rather than doing and thinking things.

    3. Evan Essence

      Re: Bletchley Park plan to “cull old and infirm”


  62. coastwalker


    Of course £8M in lottery funds will build a great burger bar. I think they should get Peter de Savary in to run the place (See Lands End). Once they get the site bulldozed and the premium parking sorted out it should start to turn a tidy profit. They should be able to do just as good a job as has been done to Stonehenge, it often takes less than two hours to walk from the visitor centre to the actual thing itself, stunning eh? I wonder if they can get Justin Bieber to open the place or even better on the board of directors.

    What a showcase for the best of British this has turned out to be!

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism in action

    The epitome of modern "civilisation". A place where a hastily-gathered team of volunteers did amazing work with historic results, now being run by a pack of business hyenas who can't see any further than the ends of their own lolling tongues.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Capitalism in action

      Couldn't have said it better myself.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Capitalism in action

      No, this isn't capitalism. Capitalism gave us the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the V&A, the Picton Library Reading room in Liverpool not to mention all of the really good universities (mostly but not exclusively sited in Northern cities).

      This is the product of the state and the rise of bureaucracy. Does anyone think that the likes of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or even Larry Ellison would not have done everything they could to conserve and preserve whatever was left of the origins of the 20th century's greatest technological advance? This is the product of the "charities" which have been infested by student politicians whose intellectual capabilities were blown to pieces by Sokal & Bricmont. They are parasites with a weird and self-hating agenda who should be allowed to work nowhere that matters.

      Perhaps the best answer would be to give the money to a trust set up under the University of Manchester, with a perpetual requirement to ensure the integrity and faithfulness of the site to the work done there, together with a mission to reflect the history of computing, and maybe a research facility. Fund this out of the Dumb Tax revenues and I might even consider telling an idiot to buy a ticket.

  64. Sandpit

    What a dick

    Iain Standen probably wants to turn it into a national centre for ICT, then staff it with all the poor unemployables that come out of our education system with a GCSE in that worthless crap.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given that the computer museum is mostly showing donated items ...

    Given that the computer museum is mostly showing donated items, presumably the title to those items resides solely with said museum.

    They don't need to be at Bletchley Park (though it's better that they are). Can they not, therefore, either threaten to (or actually) move elsewhere? Surely the suits have no legal claim on the exhibits?

    They would remove themselves from this interference whilst also regaining their independence.

    1. TNMOC peter

      Re: Given that the computer museum is mostly showing donated items ...

      Yes, we are an independent charitable organisation but that does not mean we can't be part of the Bletchley Park experience.

      We and our sponsors have invested a considerable amount of time, effort and money to build a world-leading computer museum. The building is where British Computing started and needs to be preserved. If we were to move, the building is likely to be knocked down with the loss of an iconic place. It would also cost a considerable amount of money to do so, money that the museum does not have.

      We want and need Bletchley Park to succeed both from an historical point of view and personally as I have invested a lot of time and money as a volunteer at TNMOC, and don't want that undone by petty BPT actions. Running a museum is a very costly activity having to find over £100,000 per year just to cover the costs to BP, and then more money to actually invest in the building and galleries.

      I have watched this situation get worse and worse over the years, with TNMOC bending over backwards to try and accommodate many unrealistic and sometimes unbelievable demands from BPT. While things were bad during Greenish's time at least they would discuss things even if they then back-tracked on any agreements. Since Standen has taken over and the lottery money has arrived things have got really bad, with very little or no communication on changes in the park that directly impact TNMOC.

      I know we have tried very hard to sort this out but having gates and fences put up pretty much sums up BPTs attitude.... TNMOC and Tunny/Colossus is not important to us or the story of Bletchley Park.

  66. Robinson

    Just so I understand...

    So, a group of people have their snouts in the trough of public money (in this case lottery cash) and don't want the other group to get any. Worse, sales at the gift shop will plummet!

    I guarantee you those in charge are earning over a £100,000 a year, have never worked for a private organisation in their lives and have gold plated final salary pensions.

    1. Chris Suslowicz

      Re: Just so I understand...

      I'm not taking that bet.

  67. TRT Silver badge

    I hope someone's keeping an accurate account of this...

    so it can form the basis of a display in the National Museum of National Museums and UK Heritage Centres, which will house the UK's extensive collection of battlefield reports and tell the story of those brave individuals who have struggled against seemingly unsurmountable odds in order to preserve the treasures of UK heritage. Sections include the Canals and Waterways gallery, Beeching Hall...

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Im totally disgusted with that chaps treatment. Give half your life to a cause then get a kick in the balls.

    Somehow i cant see it taking off . Not unless they have a few xboxes or playstations dotted about.

  69. bigtimehustler

    I think some of the large companies who gave donations for this, such a Google etc... should speak out and make them look and feel stupid. It is what they deserve for turning something so simple into such a disaster, I guess they took the same education path as most government contract winners go to.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The MBAs and 'suits' have ruined Stonehenge with a ghastly visitor centre.

    I expect it's a condition of lottery funding it has to be 'yoof relevant' and relevant so has been dumbed down

    1. Bigbird3141

      Nothing wrong with the visitor centre (OK - the shop's jock full of tat) at Stonehenge - it's the visitor experience that's gone to pot. You're still kept a long way from the stones and the "land trains" (presumably specified by "consultants") aren't up to the job, resulting in long queues or a long walk.

  71. ausnerd

    This is an outrage

    Adults behaving like children. Fire the heads of both organizations and bring in some people who can work together for the benefit of the nation.

    In the US we have people like this. We call them Congress.


  72. oiseau

    Quite obvious, really ...


    The CEO had this bizarre message for the fired volunteers: "Thank you very much for your service. But if we are going forward then we have to move forward."


    Well ...

    You know what they say:

    Looks like an asshole, talks like an asshole, etc. ...

    Eventually, someone with a dash of comon sense may step in and fix this matter.

    1. Bigbird3141

      Re: Quite obvious, really ...

      But the @bparkceo has sent staff and volunteers on Welcome Host Training! What more do they need to know?!

      Tweet 1

      Tweet 2

      I'd love to know the content of the course beyond common sense...

  73. miket82

    Bunch of bureaucrats

    Nothing unexpected here. Enough said.

  74. MarcusMills

    An amazing experience will be lost

    I have been twice to Bletchley Park and to The National museum of computing (TNMOC) and both times, enjoyed the 2 museums as one and complimentary. The first time I remember was a private tour lead by the the late Tony Sale who was instrumental to the Colossus rebuild. We had the full Bletchley park experience being immersed into 1940s Britain and learning about the code breakers and the early beginnings of computing which lead to TNMOC. To exclude the TNMOC from the Bletchley park tour is to not tell the full story. I plead with the CEO to end the petty squabbling with the TNMOC and apologise to the volunteer who was sacked. I think it is appalling behavior. Tony Sale would be turning in his grave.

    1. Brenda McViking

      Re: An amazing experience will be lost

      Agreed. I first visited Bletchley whilst I was still of school age, and the experiences with the volunteers there were one of the key reasons I went on to study, graduate, and become employed in electronics engineering. The machines to a schoolboy were just machines - but the volunteers made them come alive, and showed the extent of the genius of the people that created them.

      The Lottery funding was badly needed to restore the buildings and exhibits, but they count for precisely nothing when you remove the people who know about them. I'm 25, we're suffering a monumental shortage of engineers, and yet the BPT seem to be doing their hardest to remove the one single most effective tool in their arsenal to inspire the young people to learn about what happened here, and realise that there is still so much to do in this amazing field of science and engineering. I'll give them a clue - it isn't the tangible assets.

      I'm extremely dissapointed in what I have read and seen here, doubly so by the apparent flippancy of the BPT responses, both official and leaked. Sacking one of those people who gave ME so much, who inspired ME, and who is partly directly responsible for my current career in an area which helps keeps UK PLC afloat (as opposed to say, errr, banking or sueing people), for something as pathetic as "not following the tour to the letter" is nothing short of disgusting.

      A national treasure is under threat, once again, for seemingly petty and childish reasons. I will be voicing my displeasure to the Heritage Lottery Funding, and if anyone has details of the Bletchley Park Trustees, I'd like to understand exactly what they think they're doing, because their responses thus far, in my opinion, have been entirely inadequate.

      1. rh587 Silver badge

        Re: An amazing experience will be lost

        "I will be voicing my displeasure to the Heritage Lottery Funding, and if anyone has details of the Bletchley Park Trustees, I'd like to understand exactly what they think they're doing, because their responses thus far, in my opinion, have been entirely inadequate."

        List of Trustees at:

        No individual contact details but since it lists a mini-bio for each I'm sure everyone on here is capable of tracking down such things.

        As for the CEO, I'm pretty sure the Trustees have fairly firm grounds to dismiss him on charges of bringing the organisation into disrepute if they took a mind to it.

        One bit of devil's advocate I would play is that building your attraction on the experts who were there at the time isn't a long term strategy, because sooner or later nature will take it's toll (noone lives forever).

        So you do need to ensure you've got attractions that will stand the test of time regardless of who is manning them (although even younger guides need to be properly trained, not just a numpty who can say "and here we have another information board you might like to read"), and also that your buildings don't fall over - rustic dishevelment only goes so far.

        That however does not mean it needs to be oriented as a "Key Stage x approved learning resource" to the exclusion of all else, nor that the gift shop needs to be filled with tat.

        Nothing wrong with Visitor Centres for a bite to eat, nor Gift Shops if they've got relevant contents (books on maths and ciphers/codebreaking, codebreaking kits - including kid-friendly but not dumbed-down stuff, not just hefty degree-level tomes, relevant electronicry to support TNMOC , etc). It's just they usually burn all their money on a shiny building and then run out of time to source decent merchandise.

        1. DiViDeD

          Re: An amazing experience will be lost

          "...building your attraction on the experts who were there at the time isn't a long term strategy, because sooner or later nature will take it's toll (noone lives forever)."

          Exactly. Which is why we should be both making the most of those who have volunteered their time and knowledge while we have the chance.

          Down at Paradise Park in East Sussex is the Newhaven Maritime Museum, and they've been active for many years in recording, first as audio, then onto VHS, now digitally, the memories and stories of those who lived through the Depression, the two wars, and simply the years when lifestyle was alien to us now. It's an irreplaceable and very human record of times past - not a replacement for the documents and artifacts, but something that brings it alive, makes it immediate, in the same way an old chap sitting in an armchair at BP captured the imagination of everyone in the room, simply by reminiscing.

          That's what the BPT should be doing now - not dismissing and pissing off volunteers, but capturing their memories and enthusiasm for one of the most momentous times in both social and computing history.

          Many who worked at BP have already gone, and their memories are lost. Surely 8 million can buy enough recording kit so we don't lose any more?

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They could learn some lessons....

    from the Black Country Museum and the Canal Trust, two adjoining, yet separate museums, who advertise and sell tickets for each other, with a simple path between the two.

    1. TNMOC peter

      Re: They could learn some lessons....

      And we don't even have to make a path.... there is one there already...

      Turn right at b-block, follow the path around the newly refurbished huts (looking good), climb over the gate* in the road or cut a hole in the fence* (to give you a real wartime experience), up to the left and you are there. Simples.

      * in a few months time according to BPT.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They could learn some lessons....

        cut a hole in the fence* (to give you a real wartime experience)

        Thought of digging a tunnel?

        1. TheFatMan

          Re: They could learn some lessons....

          How 'bout jump it on a motorbike Steve McQueen style?

        2. TNMOC peter

          Re: They could learn some lessons....

          "Thought of digging a tunnel?"

          We don't need to... the boffins were forward thinkers and built one during the war*, knowing it would be needed in 2014.

          *actually true and it still exists between block A an D

      2. SVV

        Re: They could learn some lessons....

        "Visitors to Bletchley Park will no longer be allowed to visit the Colossus machine in Block H and fences may soon be erected to stop them visitors wandering between the two attractions."

        No doubt also complete with watchtowers, searchlights and guard dogs to make it that little bit more representative of the behaviour of the BP nanagement now that their lottery loot's come through.

        "Yes, we must stop the public spending a small amount of money learning really interesting and fascinating stuff of massive historical interest that was done on this very site, as it could be better spent in our giftshop and cafe in order to increase our already substantial salaries"

      3. Philip Virgo

        Re: They could learn some lessons....

        This is not such a bad idea. Recreating some of the wartime security barriers (complete with sentries examining tickets for your security clearances - i.e. what you have paid to visit) between the different parts of the site might help the theme park experience.

  76. Nile

    A conspiracy theorist writes...

    The boring old experts and their boring old contraptions are not wanted because, at best, the new managers want a textbook 'interactive' museum with a row of awards (great for grants and lottery funding) Key Stage 4 curriculum-compliant 'learning packs' for profitable school trips, and lucrative sponsorship deals with prominent IT companies. Or TV companies, or supermarkets, or bogroll manufacturers - it's all the same and it's all money, isn't it?

    An expert who actually worked on the machines on display when they were 'live' in the 1940's - and I spoke to one when he was still working at the museum, a decade or two ago - isn't worth as much *money* to the museum as a shiny and expensively-worthless sponsored games-console exhibit.

    ...And that's the best possible interpretation.

    The worst?

    That's valuable housing land there: wouldn't want anyone to think a failing museum with declining visitor numbers was losing money on valuable land, there...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A conspiracy theorist writes...

      TBF those guides who had worked there are getting a bit long in the tooth, a promising 20 year old boffin on VJ day would now be 89.

  77. Felix Krull

    Three (very acerbic) comments in, the Youtube-comments were disabled.

    Thanks, BBC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How do you know the BBC had them removed?

      It could be someone else approached YouTube.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bletchley Park... Theme Park.. almost a reality

    It may surprise some, but not all that there were serious plans to turn Bletchley Park into a theme park several years ago... by the people who built Gullivers Land in Milton Keynes I believe. TNMOC even had a presentation by the consultant brought in to put it all together. A slick presentation with words, diagrams and maps.

    Apparently, they all nearly fell about laughing when we saw it and found it difficult to keep a straight face during the talk.

    Can you image riding an enigma machine down a rollercoster, or throwing balls to knock off the wheels on the Bombe to win a Turin cuddly toy? I know Thorpe Park has a Colossus ride but now you can actually ride on the real thing... <g>

    Fortunately for everyone they could not raise the funds to do it.... but probably wasted £10s of 1000s of pounds on it.

    One of the many weird and wonderful ideas brought to you by BPT.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy solution,,,,

    Stop bloody funding these wankers - these are the very machines people really go there to see (aside from the human side of the story).

    Either the organising board does this properly or they shouldnt do it at all.

  80. JustNiz

    This is outrageous. That repulsive CEO should be fired immediately, and the job should be given to the amazing Mr. Carroll should he still want it.

    Even while standing in the heart of Bletchley, that clueless CEO will never understand the same Britain that Mr. Carroll's own generation fought and died for.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Visited Museum of Computing in 2013 for the first time

    Didn't go and see Bletchley Park - went just to see the Museum of Computing... and well worth the trip too. It's not to say that Bletchley Park isn't interesting, just that the Museum of Computing was the main attraction for me that happened to be on the Bletchley Park site.

    Someone needs their heads knocking together - Bletchley Park and The Museum of Computing are inextricably linked together by an old computer: Colossus. Get with it, and live together and stop your squabbling.

    Hugely knowledgeable guides for Colossus - thanks for a great day!

    Can someone fire that git of a manager... please.

    P.S. It's great to see a computer-savvy 13 year old playing on an original 4.77MHz PC. It's great to see computers that you'd heard of but never seen before (for me: NeXT), and it's great to see all those computers that you used to use a very long time ago (for me: DRS20, Commodore PET, RML 380Z)... Go there and see it all before insanity overcomes common sense.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want an example of an earlier 'eviction', just ask...

    ...the Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society about their experience when a more prestigious organisation decides it wants to muscle its way in.

  83. Inquisitive

    Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler .............

    Glad I visited when I did, it did turn out to be one of the best days out I have had Colossus and all the other stuff was fascinating. Why oh why cannot a compromise be reached, or is it, like most things these days just about money. At the moment it is a scruffy collection of huts, some all boarded up, but to me that is part of the attraction of the place but maybe it doesn't fit into how museums or exhibits should be these days.

    I've read many books about the exploits in these ground by the best brains we had at the time and it took a while to grasp the significance of what actually went on. But some of Turing's writings were on display and though I accept that I would never have been considered for employment there, what he wrote was so way above my head that even after 4 or 5 readings I was still no nearer understanding what he had written, such brain power.

    I got talking to someone who told me that Turing had moved on after the war from decrypting codes to the workings of the human body and how things could be improved to make us live better, even here he had some far reaching ideas. Great place, shame it has come to this.

  84. Steve Potter

    It does sound like Bletchley Park have got some jobsworth for managers now, and its been going on for over a year.

    Extract from Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society website.

    The Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society (MKARS), the resident radio club at Bletchley Park for nearly twenty years, will be leaving the Park as of the 1st January 2013. To mark this occasion MKARS will be holding a 'QSO party' on the weekend of the 15th-16th December.

    All MKARS members and ex-members are invited to come and operate GB2BP from Generator House 2, our current premises at Bletchley Park, for the last time.

    GB2BP and MKARS will in the future only be operational from Bletchley Park by invitation during 'radio related' events.

    This is possibly your last chance to operate this charismatic call sign. Be a part of MKARS continuing proud history. If you do not normally attend MKARS events, this one is a 'MUST'. So put the Christmas shopping on the back burner and be there.

    In the future you will be able to say 'I WAS THERE, my name is in the log'. Will has threatened to cook burgers and Dave is trying to obtain a 'Big Linear'.

    Tea and coffee will be provided. Hopefully some beer as well.

    The event will start early on Saturday morning, as soon as we can get on to The Park and finish when we have to leave, and the same again on Sunday.

    We, MKARS, can walk out of Bletchley Park with our heads held high knowing that all those years ago, when Bletchley Park was on its knees, MKARS was one of the many local groups that helped make the Park into the great museum it is today. MKARS is a great club with a great future. Be a part of it!

    We have not lost The Park, The Park have lost us.

    1. Evan Essence

      Bletchley Park was also home to the radio listening station called Station X for the first part of the war. Do they still mention that on the NuTours?

      1. djack

        Not quite..

        From what I have read, Station X was the name for the whole BP operationand not much (if any) wireless listening was actually done there. There were numerous Station Y (Y-erless .. geddit?) posts around the globe that actually did the listening and intercepts, most of which were sent to Station X for decrypting.

        Many stories about Station Y posts are covered in "The Secret Listeners" by Sinclair McKay. Quite a fascinating read, The managers at BP were upsetting other, related organisations even then aand we actually had the sort of PRIM-like data capture capability that everyone is getting up in arms about today .. back in the 20s.

        1. Evan Essence

          From Wikipedia:

          Initially, a wireless room was established at Bletchley Park. It was set up in the mansion's water tower and given the code name "Station X", a term now sometimes applied to the codebreaking efforts at Bletchley as a whole. The "X" denotes the Roman numeral "ten", as this was the tenth such station to be opened by the Secret Intelligence Service. Due to the long radio aerials stretching from the wireless room, the radio station was moved from Bletchley Park to nearby Whaddon Hall to avoid drawing attention to the site.

          This agrees with what I was told on a tour some years ago, in the late '90s maybe.

  85. Vic

    Commentards Day Out?

    Anyone fancy a trip to TNMOC to show a bit of support?


    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Commentards Day Out?

      Shame this is so far down the comments - not many will see it.

  86. Kirk Northrop

    Oh, can't we just all get on? The Bletchley stuff is an important adjunct to the history of computing, and they should all work together to have it as one exhibition. Someone mentioned Duxford Airfield - they have a commercial aircraft collection and an Anglia regiment museum on the same site, all run by separate people, but all included in one admission* and one "museum".

    Someone needs to bang some heads together down there and get it all happy as one site, one entrance fee, and one important memorial for British technology.

    * They do charge you nominally to go on some of the airliners. That money goes to the charity that looks after that plane.

  87. David 45
    Thumb Down

    Heartless move

    Sounds like a theme park with no soul is the idea. WRONG!

  88. Panicnow

    Fence will need planning consent

    As a Heritage site, it is almost certainly listed, surely they can't put up a fence.!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Fence will need planning consent

      Initially, it will be for "health and safety" while the refurbishment goes on. Later it will have been there so long that "it's just part of the site now."

      It's sad that someone who claims to love history and spent so many years in Signals can't seem to understand that he's being a right tosser. Maybe as an ex-officer in Signals he has friends at GCHQ and it's all a plot to flush out "undesirable free thinkers" who object to the dumbing down and editing of history.

  89. John Savard


    Although the conduct of the Bletchley Park Trust is to be deplored, if the National Museum of Computing is a separate entity, surely it is possible for people to visit it directly? That is, after visiting Bletchley Park, can't they just leave it, and then walk next door to visit the National Museum of Computing and view the Colossus rebuild?

    I can see how this still has an impact, because many visitors to Bletchley Park won't be aware of the National Museum of Computing to visit it also while they're in the area, but it would seem that it's not an insuperable obstacle. For example, the NMC could put up some sort of large billboard or a balloon.

    1. Andy Taylor

      Re: Confusing

      Walking round to the National Museum of Computing may become more difficult as there are some gates being installed that will block the most direct route from to Block H. See the picture at the top of this page:

  90. Duffaboy

    I offered a rare piece of computing history to be ignored

    I offered the Computing Museum, several gems

    1. A signed copy of an Bio of Adam Osborne

    2. A Osborne 1 service manual

    Emails weren't even responded, never mind they will now stay in my private collection

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: I offered a rare piece of computing history to be ignored

      Is there a point to your post?

  91. GreyHairedGeezer
    Paris Hilton

    BLetchley Park - A Soap Opera

    I'm a volunteer at BP, and many of us are also volunteers at TNMOC. So, like Tony Carroll, who's only mistake was to get a rave review on TripAdvisor, which noted he was also at TNMOC that day, we can, and do, give tours at BP; and then go on to give tours later in the day at TNMOC. The system has been working well (we're all pragmatists) but the TripAdvisor review means we now have to be bit more discreet.

    Despite the management, the volunteers at BP continue to give great tours of the place.

    By the way, does anyone remember Sir John Scarlett (former head of MI6, he of Iraq "dodgy dossier" fame)? He's the chair of our Trustees and our well-loved CEO was hired by him and does his bidding. I reckon the buck stops there.

    A plea to everyone thinking of not going to BP: BP is (& will be) a memorial to all those war-time veterans; Boycotting the place, IMHO, would be disrespectful to all the thousands of heroic BP veterans. Come to BP, but also come to TNMOC. See the BP story and enjoy the Lorenz Colossus story in the BP museum - which strangely neglects to mention that there's a Colossus being demonstrated just next door at TNMOC. But then go and see Colossus next door (OK you may have to pay £2 more - £1 if you're my age). You'll be welcomed at the Colossus gallery, and - if you wish - have an expert tour guide give the story.

    I've got it off my chest now.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: BLetchley Park - A Soap Opera

      I've got it off my chest now."

      Thank you for that open and honest post, even if you did leave a little "hidden" between the lines ;-)

      You, sir, have my undying admiration for continuing on in the face of adversity and demonstrating the true BP spirit.

      If I wasn't nearly 400 miles away I'd buy you a pint, so for now you'll just have to accept a virtual pint and a virtual pat on the back (not at the same time!)

      One of these days I WILL finally get there and hope to meet you and your colleagues and not some shiny faced "professional" tour guide.

  92. JohnG4GWJ

    Having come to Bletchley Park on a number of occasions and assisted several times with running radio stations and showing ex-wartime wireless equipment, I feel sure the current Trust management has lost the plot. Some of the exhibits which have been removed or excluded (like Colossus) are fundamental to the Bletchley story, not optional. And as several people have already said, other exhibits like the model railway or the local amateur radio club, brought in voluntary expertise and a wealth of local knowledge and inspiration.

    Also some of the current advertising is irrelevant to the Bletchley story. For instance Family Fun Days with children dressed in bits of army uniform giving parodies of salutes - how does that represent or portray the work of the Park in wartime? And may I point out that there is a picture (not just a link) on the BP website "advertising" the "Bletchley Park Circle", a completely fictitious adventure story on TV which supposedly shows a group of women setting up as amateur detectives AFTER they left Bletchley when the war ended. How is that relevant? No more so than "Keep calm and sack a volunteer" would be.

    For heavens sake can BP Trust look at all this again with people who were there or at least know what it is about - and it isn't just marketing.


  93. Roger Stenning

    Bloody outrageous.

    Revisionist History, blot out what won't sell "merchandise", and **** those who want to tell actual history as opposed to goodfact. Makes me want to puke.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah ha!

    But how did the current Bletchley CEO ever get his job, appointed as he was two years ago with no previous museum or visitor attraction experience? Ah....but he had spent his whole career in the army in the intelligence division obviously - and the BP Trust Chair as is pointed out above is none other than John Scarlett ex Head of MI6. What then might we deduce from this? That Bletchley and its legacy belong to the British Establishment - that anyone who steps out of line be they an 88 year old man now or Alan Turing back in the day - will be subjected to punishment and disgrace. But hang on this is a Heritage Lottery funded, publicly funded, cultural heritage project we are talking about is it not? Is it not? what exactly does it tell us about national heritage? is it actually about national security, or an illusion/ delusion of this that can be sold to the visitors equating their personal web defences with a mega back story funded with McAfee support. A grim scenario. This news story coming as it did on the first Apple's 30th birthday might have made Turing choke again ...if we believe he ever did.

  95. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Don't worry.

    If the fence between the two attractions is as good as anything else that McAfee has been involved in, it will be easy to bypass and will probably fall over after six months.

  96. Peter Cochrane

    The Bletchley Children

    I was helping to organise a visit of 70 American technologists to Bletchley Park, but if Colossus is not included what would be the point. They need to see more than old wooden huts and posters! Colossus is the key technology that everyone wants to see and photographs just don't cut it.

    The children who are managing this site really do need to grow up! But then again they are probably so old that they are unable to change.

    What a shame....

    Professor Peter Cochrane

    1. Evan Essence

      Re: The Bletchley Children

      As has been said here, you can see Colossus for £2. See The National Musum of Computing Web site.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go there - it's good!

    I was there on Friday and the whole experience is well worth it.

    Extra £2 to see Collosus and Tunny Machine - it is a must for the full experience.

    Also the new visitor centre, opening in April/May in block C should enhance the trip.

  98. Wordfuse

    Bad exprience

    I'm really glad I saw Bletchley when I did, it sounds like change will be the death of any memorable visiting experience. I've seen Lotto investment do this to a lot of existing organisations, Sweeping changes in practice, new wallpaper and a strong focus on image and presentation and a tendency to bury all that happened before and that includes bringing in staffers who don't always share the original spirit.

    I recall visiting on a cold day, Collosus was running and the windows were open, so the heat and cold were memorable, but it was an amazing sight. The volunteers were present and really helpful talking us through all their own gear and donated kit. Considering the resources available to them I thought the experience was special.

    You could see the personal commitment involved in many ways. The place was quirky but then consider it's role and importance, you could see the divide between coders and techies with the 'puters but it wasn't a gulf then as it seems to be now. I recall seeing the shell of a Harrier Jumpjet in the back car park - amazing, wondered where the rest was.

    In the end this isn't about sentiment, it's about change and it's already started and it won't stop now. Shame that the computing side wasn't legally constituted away from the coding side, I doubt any volunteer would have been sacked then - besides, how do you sack someone who has no contract and therefore no pay to lose.

    If I were involved with the 'puter side I'd be suggesting the guys pool experiences and get writing a book between them - capture the legacy of all that in print.

    It was a tenner admission (return anytime within a year at no extra cost) so judging by what happens when Lotto developments happen, it'll be more than a tenner to go in and numbers will drop, wonder how long this will last?

  99. Richard Cranium

    Practical help...

    Clearly the objective of Iain Standen is to erode the income of TNMOC to the point at which they cannot afford their £100k annual rent they pay to BP. That would raise the issue of the fate of their prize exhibits - and I'm sure he'd love to get his grubby hands on them...

    This is one of the longest threads I've followed on The Register and the vast majority are critical of BPs actions. Sacking Tony and Standen's attitude to that in the BBC interview should be grounds for at least a strong reprimand and a public apology to Tony.

    Grumbling on here will achieve nothing - so what can be done?

    Lobbying the Bletchley trustees might be a good start.

    Get more coverage in the computer press.

    Lobbying the known benefactors of the BP trust to exert their influence - and perhaps transfer some of their generosity to TNMOC.

    Is there a way to feed back to the Lottery fund that their donation is being misused to the detriment of another deserving cause?

    Lobby Gov't for an MBE for Tony

    Lobby owners of exhibits on loan to BP to ensure they are aware of the situation with TNMOC and Tony's public dismissal

    Do something yourself - become a member of TNMOC £45 p.a. - that's a bit steep for me especially living a few hours drive away (and never been) so not likely to get much personal benefit - but I'm sending them a £10 donation (gift aid eligible).

    From what I read about BP and TNMOC (and as an aging computer geek) TNMOC is a greater attraction to me than BP, I really will have to make the effort to visit sometime.

  100. BarkingMad

    Poles do and Die

    Poles new of the Enigma system by the mid 1930’s they set their mathematicians on it at that time. By the time War broke out they had more than a fair understanding of it. Not only was the math passed on to the Brits but an intact early version of the Enigma machine with code book. Of course British tradition dictates: Polish Pilots, soldiers and resistance do and die but only the Brits dress up for the parade.

    1. madmalc

      Re: Poles do and Die

      Plenty of Poles decorated for their service in RAF and the British film "The Battle Of Britain" contains a very favourable amount of coverage of Polish squadrons exploits.

      1. Vic

        Re: Poles do and Die

        > Plenty of Poles decorated for their service in RAF

        The BNP had an advert made up a few years with a Spitfire in the background to try to the whole "national pride" thing.

        They picked an image of a squadron that was staffed entirely of Polish pilots...

        Laugh? I nearly paid my Poll Tax.


  101. TNMOC peter

    Background and comment by Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree has been speaking to both parties and gives more details of what has been going on and comments on the situation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Background and comment by Gareth Halfacree

      Gareth's lengthy post is worth a read.

      I note one statement "TNMOC further claims that as part of its Heritage Lottery Fund bid, Bletchley Park Trust stated that the Colossus Rebuild was to be interpreted to the public as an integral part of the Bletchley Park story. " As BP have no rights in respect of Colossus (Owned by another organisation and on loan to TNMOC) and it is not part of the BP offering to visitors, does that mean their lottery funding bid was fraudulent?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Background and comment by Gareth Halfacree

        "...As BP have no rights in respect of Colossus (Owned by another organisation and on loan to TNMOC) and it is not part of the BP offering to visitors, does that mean their lottery funding bid was fraudulent?"

        Or is it an indication that Standen is planning to get his hands on it.

    2. John Savard

      Missing Facts

      That article, as well as some of the reader comments, supplied basic background facts that the article omitted.

      The land on which Bletchley Park sits belongs to a private party. It's bad enough it got requisitioned when it was needed for the war - but at least that was urgent enough to justify it. But now for the landowner to be further hobbled by the building's historical status is an additional unfairness.

      In any case, the BPT has managed to hang on to the land, though it pays a pretty penny for it. It's subleasing to the NMOC, and so entry there is through their visitor center, not from the road.

      And the problem seems to be that the BPT is unhappy that the NMOC is charging a ticket fee on its own, and yet how else do they expect them to pay their rent. This has given rise to suspicions that it's a plot to grab their exhibits, though there's no evidence of that.

      Boycotting the BPT until it comes to its senses has nothing to do with the people who served in the war, but now I don't think they're the only party to blame. Really the proper solution would be for the two museums to be funded and controlled by the government, because unlike non-profit groups relying on donations and admission fees, the government can afford to adequately compensate the property owner.

  102. schotness

    double-entre ?

    The title of this article sounds just a little bit saucy.....

  103. AbortRetryFail

    This absolutely stinks. When I visited Bletchley Park, being able to visit the National Museum of Computing was a huge bonus and the visit would have been the less without it. Actively discouraging (poss. preventing, if talks of fences are true) people from visiting is just wrong. The Colossus and Tunny machines are absolutely integral to the story of Bletchley Park

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I took a group of students to The National Museum of Computing earlier this month and we spent a fascinating five hours being shown around – the kids, some as young as 14, all want to go back! The fact that it was hands on and the enthusiasm and knowledge of the volunteers just added to the whole experience. Only slight hiccup was when, having arrived early, we decided to go and get a “group picture” in front of the main house. We were really surprised when we were dragged away on the grounds that we hadn’t paid for the Bletchley Tour. As far as I am concerned Bletchley Park is synonymous with the Colossus story; the current situation is just incredibly sad.

  105. At0micAndy

    I would like to see a LEO, I worked on one in the 60's and then we upgraded to an NCR315 with ferrite rings as well as valves. I used to love the half an hour the valves used to take to warm up, coffee time:-)

    I guess BPLand will have no interest for me ( I am already fully versed in the codebreaking side) and so, if I am that way, it will the TNMOC only that receives my £s and I will gaze lovingly over Colossus.

  106. Amora Mora

    Keep the Momentum

    It's a week now since the odious Colonel Ian Standen sneered his way to infamy on BBC News and social media and PR bandwagons started rolling. I have watched with interested and waited to make my contribution. I am local to BP and have given my time and money to what I truly believe is an important and unique site. It's local, national and global importance cannot be understated. The role of Colossus in the development of computing is as crucial to our history as the seed-drill and the Bessemer Steam Engine to the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. The part that the tireless dedication and intellectual might of the Codebreakers played in shortening the war is undoubted. How a small, fairly uninteresting Buckinghamshire town absorbed this "army" of near 10,000 and kept the secret for so long is mind-boggling and barely mentioned. The foresight and fighting spirit of those who stopped the bulldozers in the 1990s and the volunteers who have given so selfishly since then is a true testament to all those who served at BP during World War II.

    So this is where I have a problem with those stuck in a small, petty-minded struggle to "own" this legacy and dogmatically shape Bletchley Park into their interpretation of a "heritage centre".

    * You can't divorce the codebreakers from the tools they used - Colossus and Tunny are key components of the story of BP. To do so is to airbrush history. We need to celebrate the technology and honour the people

    * Fences and barriers between BP Trust and TNMOC, either physical or virtual, are an anathema, and damage the integrity of Bletchley Park and its legacy

    * The gongs and the recognition should be given to those who selflessly dedicated many, many years of unpaid service to saving Bletchley Park for future generations. They should not be a pre-requisite for a place on a Board of Trustees

    * There is no black and white - dogmatic, authoritarian stances will only create further disharmony. Engagement, empathy, generosity and openness are the only way to solve this

    * There are many contradictions and unanswered questions e.g.. why does TNMOC need to be fenced off when Bletchley Park Capital Partners sub-lease Block B and part of upstairs in the Mansion and rent this out to other companies as serviced offices? Is the room where the Churchill Collection was going to be used for "heritage" purposes, or as a key individual in BPCP told us as a conference suite for their tenants?

    * BP is a national jewel and a local treasure and we are all stakeholders. It is important that we continue to raise questions and hold those who have been entrusted with this legacy to account. No doubt Ian Standen will be waiting for the storm to pass and for people's attention to move onto another cause, Whilst I do not think a Boycott will bring any benefit to BP, it is important to keep these issues in the media, on social networks and alive to funders, contributors, MPs etc. so that the right questions are asked and the right decision for the future of BP are made.

    * Next week and the week after, keep talking about this and don't let this crucial issues be locked away and ignored.

  107. Palf

    A way overpaid pompous arse, that Standen. Boot him out.

  108. Philip Virgo

    How and why has the conflict arisen

    I suspect that the planners of the Bletchley Theme Park have a carefully sanitised version of history in mind. This does not include the "special relationship" between Bletchley and Fort Meade from 1941 until GCHQ moved to Cheltenham. They fail to recognise that the elderly volunteers are fully aware of their obligations under the official secrets acts (plural). Hence the current situation, instead of a win win way forward which would have preserved the spirit of Bletchley.

    We should remember that a core part of that spirit was the tension between the invaluable eccentrics and those trying to keep order between several thousand, largely female, twenty somethings and a rather smaller number of men of varying ages, with few of either knowing what they were really doing. Luckily many of those who were truly invaluable were more interested in what they were doing than in the opposite sex, if they were interested in the opposite sex at all.

    At this point I have some sympathy, albeit not a lot, for those trying to create a sanitised theme park which will protect the young of today from the realities of the past.

    1. TheArdvaark

      Re: How and why has the conflict arisen

      It is obvious that Mr Virgo does not have the slightest conception of the value of Bletchley Park! He says: "At this point I have some sympathy, albeit not a lot, for those trying to create a sanitised theme park which will protect the young of today from the realities of the past". Why should we do this? The past is of vital importance and there are, probably, millions of people alive right across the world right now thanks to the work that was done at Bletchley Park. Why is this?

      Most historians who have studied BP have come to the conclusion that the work that was done there probably shortened the war by around two years. If the war had continued for another two years how many thousands of service men and women would have lost their lives? How many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of innocent civilians, on both sides, would have lost their lives? Those people would not have gone on to have families of their own and those families would not have had their families who are today's generation!

      Considering the fact that on the allies side we had not only British and American but also Australian; New Zealand; Canadian; Indian; Czechs; Poles; French; etc etc etc it doesn't take a genius to work out that there are probably millions of people alive today, right across the world that owe their very existance to the work that was done at BP! This is something that everybody should know about, including today's generation! The Germans have done a very good job of sanitising their history by wiping out as much as possible with regard to the second world war - are we going to do the same? This should never be allowed to happen, we should all know why we did what we did and how we saved the West for Democracy - albeit tenuous in this day and age! The past is the past and we can't change that and the truth is the truth so why should we try to change that as well? Everybody deserves to know what happened and why and what the consequences were. The minute we start to sanitise history is the minute when we cease to admit what happened and what the truth really was.

  109. Wzrd1

    Well, I'm open to negotiate a satisfactory solution. Well, to the public and technical folk.

    I will insist on having Royal authority to bulldoze the entire lot.

    I'll also threaten, to the point of having workmen stage with equipment.

    Whoever balks may win the day.

    Worst case scenario, neither will have custody or responsibility and a third organization will be selected.

    Probably one staffed by the former staff of both the site and the organization that is being remembered, the latter being a diminishing number, to the great loss of the entire world.

    In a lose-lose situation, people start to find common ground, if faced with a significant loss.

    Especially one in a loss of standing and lost face.

    Of course, I would be willing to actually turn the bulldozer onto the site.

    After removing everything, even the woodwork.

    To later, at the expense of the two asshole organizations, be reconstructed.

    Brick by brick, nail by nail.

  110. meadowlark

    Loss of Old Museums

    Regarding superb museums being turned into 'Disneyland' type attractions, the 'Science Museum' in Birmingham suffered just this fate. The cradle of the industrial revolution and known as the 'City of a Thousand Trades', Birmingham had probably the richest industrial heritage of all. This was reflected in its old museum until it was summarily closed down without any consultation with its citizens.

    In its place is a shiny new glass and steel megalith of nothingness at a new home called 'Millenium Point ThinkTank'. It doesn't even have the names of either 'science' or 'museum' in it. It should be renamed as 'Pointless Nothingness' because all the really interesting exhibits from the old place have disappeared. It now encourages self led learning for children and it seems to me to be more like an exhibition of computer games.

  111. Leigh Lundin

    Fire management, rehire Tony

    Management not only proved themselves pompous, but incompetent. Ditch them and rehire Tony Carroll.

This topic is closed for new posts.