Bletchley Park, Saturday 23 February 2013

Twenty two hardy souls braved the elements on a cold February day for the first Branch event of 2013, a visit to Bletchley Park.

Our guide was an Open University lecturer who, in spite of snow flurries, brought to life the work carried out at Bletchley which helped to shorten the Second World War by years, deciphering the codes used by the Axis powers.

Our day started with coffee and an introductory talk in the Mansion.  This was followed by a walk round some of the huts, with an explanation of how the work was divided between departments so that very few people knew the whole process from receipt of coded messages to the production of intelligence reports.  We then returned to the Mansion for a warming lunch of shepherd's pie.

The afternoon was spent exploring the various exhibits, including a reconstruction of the Bombe used to recover the key settings of the Enigma.  The Churchill Collection is an Aladdin's cave  of memorabilia celebrating the life of the former Prime Minister.  

Some of us rounded off the visit in the small Art Deco cinema of the Projected Picture Trust, which preserves cinema equipment from the days when movies arrived at the theatre as reels of film rather than a collection of digits on computer memory.

A thoroughly enjoyable day out and a good start to 2013.

Robert wrote:

“Many thanks for organizing yesterday's trip to Bletchley Park. In spite of the cold, it was most enjoyable - an excellent talk, convivial lunch and much improved displays in the museum.

It was a very nice family outing for us.”