You’ll have to forgive me for playing catch up on the blog. I didn’t have the chance to share my Bletchley Park visit before I left for Japan. Better late than never as they say…..
‘It’s the lack of colour, which is so familiar,’ said my Mother as we walked past the drab looking huts of peach, uniform green and endless grey. We were celebrating my Father’s 70th birthday with a surprise trip to Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes. His Headmaster and colleague’s father had worked there during the war.
It’s wonderful to have a personal connection somewhere as iconic as Bletchley. But the true dedication, skill and tenacity of those who worked there is awe-inspiring even if you don’t. Much of what we have today, we owe to the code breakers who cracked the German ‘Enigma code’ and brought the second word war to a faster end.
Lord it’s cold, I think to myself. Everyone always talked about how freezing working at Bletchley was and standing between those thin hut walls my feet felt like ice. Not to mention the exhaustion of gruelling 24hr shift work. I’m not sure what would have been worse, the ice cold huts or the extreme heat of the engine rooms housing the machines Alan Turing became famous for working on.
The endless ticking as the cogs turned through mathematical codes. Tinnitus does not even come close. Imagine trying to sleep after a 12 hour shift of this;
What they lacked in austere surroundings they made up for in seriously good desk acouttrements. Proper desk lamps and calendars, wooden labelled drawers, fountain pens, typewriters and FONTS! I could spend all day looking at the fonts alone. No budget Lyreco equivalent stationery products here.
My favourite place had to be the library in the big house. I imagine you had to be in possession of a good title to bag a desk in here. Warmer than the huts. The colour coded book arrangements in the library are a Pinterest dream #interiorgoals. Perhaps I need to rethink my own hardback book collection.
There are plenty of first hand accounts from veterans bringing the park to life. Notably there are plenty of veterans who also refused to break the silence they were sworn to when they agreed to work at Bletchley. They’re the ones that fascinate me the most. Loyal to the end.
A mathematician once told me ‘there is a beauty in numbers, because there is always an answer.’ In Bletchley’s case, there is certainly truth in that and those brilliant minds.