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Bletchley Park

Has anyone been to Bletchley Park since it was reopened in May 2014? I am considering going there in May 2015. Has anyone taken the 2 hour guided tours of the Museum of Computing which I believe occur only on Tuesdays? Many Thanks in advance.

Posted by
449 posts

Hi Virginia:

I spent the day at Bletchley Park in August of this year. I went up with a group of about 60 people who were members of a London based meetup group (Cultureseekers). I spent some time looking at and inside the headquarters building and the huts, and then took the free 45 minute overview tour which, as I recall, did not enter any of the buildings, There is a replica of the Bombe at Bletchley so I did not take the time and pay the money to visit the museum which is a separate operation. I have told folks that several posters really require a high IQ to understand. I have a masters in biostatistics and still did not understand some of the code breaking techniques which were statistics based.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Posted by
33123 posts

I have been meaning to go the National Museum of Computing and Bletchley Park for several years. As a computer programmer who was writing code in the 1980s and 1990s I have a special afffinity for the National Museum of Computing.

I won't go at the moment because of philosophical differences with the management of Bletchley Park. A few months ago they fired all the exceedingly knowledgeable (free) volunteers at Bletchley Park because they had the affrontary to tell visitors about the computers in the National Museum of Computing which is on the same campus and used to be included.

These were mostly elderly men and women who understood from a personal viewpoint, having been through it, the significance of what they were showing and demonstrating and their loss is massive.

Both institutions hobble along but there is considerable bad blood between them and I won't go near the place at the moment.

Virginia, I hope that you get the information that you need, and that you enjoy your visit. I'd leave plenty of time.

Any London Midland train from London Euston which calls at Bletchley (many do but not all - check) will work, as will the Southern trains which serve East Croydon, Clapham Junction and Watford Junction, onwards to Milton Keynes via Bletchley once an hour. The walk from Bletchley station is very short and very easy, just cross the street and follow the short road to the junction, turn right, over the road, nearly the first drive on the left.

Posted by
5355 posts

The antagonism between the two separate trusts is quite apparent reading their websites. One fails to mention the other at all. The second only mentions the other to point out that you don't need to pay them to get into its facility.

I guess the best thing is to visit both but keep quiet about it ...

Posted by
1488 posts

We are going next Wednesday. I'll post back here after:)

Posted by
1446 posts

I'm sorry to hear about that. We toured there about 4 years ago, and it was wonderful!

Posted by
32241 posts

I wasn't aware there were two separate Museums at the Bletchley Park campus, and it's upsetting to hear of the acrimony between them. I'm also very sorry to hear that they've sacked all the knowledgeable volunteers, as I don't like to see people treated that way and I'm sure I would have enjoyed speaking to someone who actually knows something of the subject matter. Although I have somewhat of a technical background, I'm sure I won't understand all of it.

I'm hoping to visit Bletchley Park next time in the U.K., which will probably be sometime next year. My interest is somewhat higher at the moment, given the impending release of the movie The Imitation Game, which I'm quite looking forward to seeing. I've long been fascinated by the Enigma story, especially as that was one of the main reasons for the Dieppe raid in 1942 which was so devastating for so many Canadian soldiers.

I'll probably follow Marco's advice and visit both but not say anything to either one. Perhaps it's time to put both Museums under the same management? I'm surprised no one has figured that out.

Posted by
33123 posts

If they were to both wind up under the same management trust, I wouldn't give much for the odds of the National Computing Museum continuing to exist.

Posted by
32241 posts

@Nigel,

Good point! It's sure great to have people "on the ground" to provide accurate local advice. I'll still plan my visit and hope to see both Museums.

Posted by
203 posts

Thank you everyone for all of your responses!!

I enjoyed reading about the trip your meet up group took, Geo from Seattle.

It's good to hear that there has been a lot of refurbishing done.

It's too bad to hear that they got rid of the knowledgable volunteers. I'm sure they have a wealth of knowledge to share!!

My husband and I have been in the computer business since before the time of punchcards, so we have a keen interest in this topic.

Thanks everyone for sharing! I would appreciate and enjoy any and all further comments about this interesting place. We will certainly travel there this May. We are planning to spend 3 or possibly 4 days there....possibly take in a day trip to Cambridge or Oxford.

Any ideas on making a day trip to Cambridge from Bletchley?

Posted by
33123 posts

Virginia

My high school project was to build a computer and when I got to college I graduated to punch cards. I remember late one night picking up a deck off the floor that I had neglected to number and neglected to mark. Never again.

Will you be driving or taking a train? The X4 bus connects Cambridge to Oxford via Milton Keynes but takes sevenevers to get there. Train into London and back out also clumsy.