Saturday, 14 May 2016

bletchley park

On Monday 2nd May - a bank holiday - we went up to Bletchley Park for the day, which was well worth a visit. We didn't do it all, and may go again, courtesy of our Gift-Aid-enabled year-entry pass. Lots to read, and a good audio guide.

One of the things that struck me was for all the idea people have of them being unsung heroes, for a large number of them their work was very routine and wouldn't have felt heroic at all - particularly the women taking down encoded morse code messages all day, or the women doing essentially mechanical tasks in the running of the 'bombe' machines, and particularly those among them (and others) who deliberately were not given a full picture or understanding of what was actually going on and what they were doing.

One of my favourite Bletchley stories is a newspaper letter I saw on Twitter a year or two ago from someone who was on a tour at Bletchley and it became apparent that an old married couple on the tour had both worked there but never told the other (it was a big place). People kept the secret very thoroughly until the last 10-20 years.

I worked in Bletchley for a couple of years, around 1995-97. I knew about Bletchley Park then, but it wasn't really very widely known - the flood of books and documentaries and films came later. At that time it was only open every second weekend, and I'm certain there wasn't as much there then as there is now; having made the commute Monday to Friday, I never did it again on a Saturday.

If we do go back to finish off, and have more time, perhaps we'll go the other way from the station into Bletchley to see the old office and high street again. (I didn't have a sense of recognition at the station at all, until we were going back to the platform across the bridge to get the train back home.)

We got home too late to watch The Imitation Game that evening, as Maisie had hoped, but she and I watched it last night.