A day out at Bletchley Park

>>  Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes is a quite incredible place.  Thousands of people worked there during World War 2 but nobody spoke about it until the 1990's.  I mean absolutely nobody, it was the ultra secret.  Some of the most advanced code breaking and computer science work took place there and it's all still there.  It really is a walk back in history.

A lot of it is focused on the enigma but there is so much more.

I love history and the inevitable war references, as the code breaking story is told, hold my interest.

But there is the social side, the 1940s life style, the toy museum, the personal stories.

There is also Colossus which truly is quite incredible.  That number of valves and still working when they stopped making them more than 40 years ago.

It is a big site, with something to see in each part.  We took the teens in tow on the children's tour, which was enough to get them interested and keep them engaged without boring them to death.  I've been on the full tour before and think it's great, they are often done by people that actually worked there but it's not for anyone with a short attention span.
But for me Bletchley is so great because there is still a rawness to it.  Even 10 years on from when I first went there are still crumbling parts.  This is the original entrance.  It's not been Disney'd, it's just how it was/is. Right next to where a bomb dropped.  You need to picture the history, it's not handed on a plate.  This is a place that makes your brain and imagination work.

It's a museum that is still growing and evolving into something, but for now it is a collection created by enthusiasts.    I thoroughly recommend you get there before commerce takes hold.

I read so much on the displays and learnt so much but the thing that really grabbed me this visit as truly awesome is this whistling milkpan.  It whistles like a kettle as it boils. Brilliant, why don't they make these anymore?! Seriously, if you haven't been to Bletchley and you have any interest at all in the war, logic problems, code breaking, computers, just a day out that's a bit different do go.   There are no rides, little interactive - you do the brain work - but it is so worth it.
They have a great cafe and often run family days with brilliant kids activities, they are definitely running for the next two Wednesdays. To find out more visit http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/museum1.rhtm 

And if you are even slightly interested in this then also have a think about going to the Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch.


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