Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Bletchley Park is at war – and it’s not historic, it’s current

A few years ago, Bletchley Park was struggling for recognition and funds.

Now, it is has become quite well-known as having been Station X during World War II, the place when Britain’s codebreakers worked to successfully defeat various German methods of encryption, with Enigma probably being the most widely known, although many other system were defeated there.

Bletchley Memorial

Bletchley Memorial 2013 © Roger Davies via geograph
The memorial consists of two slabs of Caithness stone one with the wording ‘We also served’ and the other with a sculpted list of 25 of the some 300 outstations that existed across the globe

While the immediate risks to the various building that make up the site have possibly receded, and funding for maintaining the facility appears to be appearing from sources such as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), all is far from well.

It’s hard to know what’s going behind the closed doors of the various bodies and trusts which are involved, but there seem to be major problems coming with the funds and grants, and the people charged with looking after them.

As well as the people at the top, there is conflict on the site as well, as the site is home not only to the artefacts and stories of the World War II activities which took place there, but also the National Museum of Computing. This has ended up sharing the site, since so many development that played a part with Station X during the war would go on to find applications in computing. The two are intimately connected, as developments in one led to advances in the other.

But all is not well, and the two sites seem to be doomed to suffer as those who have their hands on control of the site and its resources seem unable to get along together.

I have my own thoughts on how they should be dealt with, suffice to say these people are not as important as the artefacts or memories they are supposed to be caring for, and they should be shown the door if they cannot find a way to work together. I wouldn’t normally support such a course (people in a job usually want to be there), but when something has dragged on for years, then someone has to step in and ‘bang heads together’, or operate a ‘new broom’ philosophy to save the situation.

People are already ‘jumping ship’ to get away, and probably just doing so in order to avoid ‘being pushed’.

This does the various museums, memorials, or organisations associated with the site (eg HLF) no good at all, and could end up tarring them with the same brush if bad management, personal interest, abuse of power/position, or whatever.

Here is some background reading – these item are in chronological order, as they appeared:

Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors • The Register

Bletchley Park’s bitter dispute over its future

Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into ‘geeky Disneyland’ • The Register

Bletchley Park spat ‘halts work on rare German cipher machine’ • The Register

Veterans gather for Colossus 70th anniversary

Bletchley Park board member quits amid TNMOC split-off spat • The Register

Bletchley Park board member quits amid TNMOC split-off spat • The Register


Since I was moved to mention this issue, things have continued to deteriorate:

Bletchley boffins go to battle again: You said WHAT about Colossus? • The Register


March 17, 2014 - Posted by | military, World War II | , , , ,

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