August 31, 2014 · 9:30 AM
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Come along on Sunday 31st August to the fantastic Bletchley Park!
About Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park Mansion, built in 1883 sits in 55 acres of the park just outside Milton Keynes. The park is best known as the home of the WWII Enigma code-breakers. The house and huts in the grounds have just had a £25m refurbishment and reopened in June.
The mansion and park was bought by the government in 1938 to house the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS). The park was conveniently located within easy walking distance of Bletchley station, where the "Varsity Line" between the cities of Oxford and Cambridge – whose universities supplied many of the code-breakers.
The intelligence produced from decrypts at Bletchley was code-named "Ultra". It contributed greatly to Allied success in defeating the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. Prior to the Normandy landings on D-Day in June 1944, the Allies knew the locations of all but two of the 58 German divisions on the Western front. The staff at Bletchley Park continued to break the German Enigma codes right up to the end of the war.
At it's height of codebreaking in January 1945, some 9,000 people worked at Bletchley Park; in the mansion and the huts built within the grounds. Among the famous mathematicians and cryptanalysts working there, the most influential and the best-known in later years was Alan Turing who is widely credited with being "The Father of Computer Science".
At the end of the war, much of the equipment used and its blueprints were ordered to be destroyed. Although thousands of people were involved in the deciphering efforts, the participants remained silent for decades about what they had done during the war, and it was only in the 1970s that the work at Bletchley Park was revealed to the general public.
The world's first computer; The Colossus was built at Bletchley in 1943 to decipher teleprinter messages that were encrypted. There is a working replica of the Colossus at Bletchley that we can see.
Entry and the tour guide works out at £15 per person (payable on the day). There is quite a lot to see in the park, so the day will be a mixture of using audio guides, tour guides and self guiding.
9:54am - catch the train to Bletchley (GroupSave - groups of three)
10:41am - arrive and walk to park (10 mins)
11:00am - split into 2 groups
11:05am - both groups collect audio guides and start audio tour of park
11:10am - 1st group meets at house and starts guided tour (finishes at 12:40pm), then continues with audio guides afterwards
12:40pm - 2nd group meets at house and starts guided tour (finishes at 2:10pm)
1:00pm - lunch in the park (please bring a packed lunch or buy at the station beforehand, there is a café in the park, but it's expensive)
2:10pm - freetime in the park
4:15pm - meet outside house to catch train back (trains going back: 3:46pm, 4:17pm, 4:46pm)
We are aiming to get the 9:54am train to Bletchley Station, its only a 45 minute train ride outside of London, we will be able to get Groupsave train tickets, which will work out at £9.71 per person (we will get these on the day in groups of 3 when you arrive).
We will be back in London at about 5:00/5:30pm.
Look out for the group sign at the station:
Hope to see you there!
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