Monday 31 December 2012

Bletchley Park on a Brompton

Today we paid a visit to Bletchley Park, somewhere we had not visited for quite some time.
We cycled to Euston (me on Orange Brompton, Mrs O on my Raw Lacquer S2L and Orangettes on their own bicycles). The journey took about 50 minutes and the train wasn't crowed considering it is New Years Eve.

The famous Bletchley Park (iPhone 5)

For those of you unaware, Bletchley Park was the top secret location during WWII where code breakers tired to decipher the famous Enigma code. There were of course many people who worked there all doing their bit for the war effort but the star was the genius mathematician Alan Turing.

The great man - Alan Turing. (X100)

The Enigma machine was a portable device, that allowed codes to be sent and then scrambled, only to be make sense again by the person receiving them.

An Enigma Machine (X100)

Turing had an incredible mind and saw the solution to the problem of cracking a near impossible code in a machine. Once built they worked 24 hours a day trying to find the key to the code. It was the start of computing as we know it.

Turing's great machine (X100)

The rear of Turing's machine (X100)

Turing working on the Enigma Machine (X100)

After the War, Turing's work was so top secret that his machines were dismantled and the work he did all but forgotten. Those who worked there, bound by the Official Secrets Act kept silent about their efforts for decades, only to tell the world about what happened at Bletchley when it was threatened with a housing estate being built on it. Luckily, many of the wartime huts where vital work took place survived the developers.
If you like the wartime period / history you'll love Bletchley. We paid £26 for entry for a family of four but this now acts as an annual pass, allowing us to return as many times as we wish in the coming year. As Bletchley also hosts classic car/bike events and other special events throughout the year, it represents great value for money.

Lots of Brooks (iPhone 5)

At its peak over 8,000 people worked at Bletchley during the war and many travelled to there by bicycle. A couple of bike sheds hold some bicycles of the period. Nice to see so many Brooks saddles.
One thing I knew was going to be released at some point and exclusive to Bletchley was an 'Alan Turing Edition of Monopoly.' It was there in the flesh and I as I had a little Christmas money left, I had to get on. A percentage of the sales of this go towards the renovation and upkeep of Bletchley - which can't be a bad thing. In fact we noticed a few areas that had been renovated since we last paid a visit there.

The Turing Edition (iPhone 5)

After a few hours we cycled the short distance to the train station and made our way back to London. In all we cycled almost four miles...not a huge distance I know but for my youngest who is 9 in February and suffers from a balance/coordination problem, I was very proud.

(One thing to note, if you do take your bicycle make sure you take a lock with you).
Click on the link below to take you to the Bletchley Park website.

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