Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bletchley Park: Thousands Work to Decipher Nazi Codes, Including Enigma

On our last day before leaving London to visit Cambridge/King's College and then Sandringham, Doug and I decided to take the train out to Bletchley Park.

In May 1938, Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), bought the Mansion and 58 acres of the Bletchley Park estate - 50 miles northwest of London - for use by GC & CS (Government Code and Cypher School) and SIS in the event of war.

Block B houses various exhibitions and galleries related to wartime Bletchley Park, including a slate statue of Alan Turig, the largest public display of Enigma machines in the world and an exhibition about the breaking of the Lorenz cipher.

At the peak of Bletchley Park's codebreaking operations, around 3,000 messages per day were brought to the GS & CS's top secret headquarters by dispatch motorcycles riders.

Equipment used for wireless interception in Block B.

Block C is now the Visitor Centre; however, during WWII, it housed the Hollerith punch card machines/tabulating machinery - a form of mechanical data processor that preceded the computer - that carried out analysis of enemy codes and cipher systems.

Steel, brick and concrete blocks were built on the property starting in 1941.

After leaving Block B, Doug and I walked around the lake to the Mansion, which dates back to the late 1870s.  During WWII, it served as the headquarters and recreation building.

Steps leading up to the Mansion (right side).

Griffins guard the Mansion entrance.

Library at the Mansion as it looked during WWII.

The Mansion at Bletchley Park was one of several locations used in filming The Imitation Game, which received 5 Golden Globe nominations and 8 Academy Award nominations - winning an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.  (There were several film exhibition areas where visitors could pose for photos.)

One display in the Mansion featured props and costumes worn by actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.

Reproduction of the bar at the Mansion.

Replica of the prototype Bombe machine Turig named Christopher.

Exhibition features Bombe blueprints and clothing worn by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who was nominated for an Academy Award/Best Actor in a Leading Role.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

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