culture, history, lifestyle

Winter past

I’ve dug out some pics from last winter as we head into much colder weather. First, the greatest pub in the Midlands – the Bottle & Glass Inn at the Black Country Museum. Freezing cold outside, fire and ale inside, and of course there was sawdust. Best when preceded by fish and chips cooked in beef dripping at the museum’s 1930s fish and chip shop. And ask the barman anything about Victorian pubs.

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When heavy snow hit Buckinghamshire for the first time last winter I turned up for my tour guiding duty at Bletchley Park regardless. Doesn’t Bletchley Park close when it snows? No, I said! Bletchley Park is only ever closed for Christmas and New Year’s Day. And during the Blitz it was bombed four times, shaking Hut 4 (naval Enigma analysis and translation) right off its foundations. Legend has it that the staff carried on working in Hut 4 even as it was winched back onto its foundations. Bletchley Park worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the war. I don’t think a bit of snow will stop it in its tracks.

Well, it did. I turned up for my shift and Ralph at the gate shook his head. “Don’t tell me you didn’t get the message either.” It turns out it really is too slippery in the snow to lead groups of 50 around the park. With the kettle on back at Ralph’s hut I wandered around taking these.

The mansion –

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The post office –

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Cottage 3, far right. Headed by top code breaker Dilly Knox during the early years of Bletchley Park, Cottage 3 was where Bletchley Park made its first independent break into Enigma, in January 1940. Days earlier, the Allies had made their first combined breaks into Enigma, in Paris.

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Hut 6, left, and Hut 3, right (covered in tarp). Hut 6 was in charge of Enigma army and airforce deciphering while its sister hut was in charge of the translation and analysis of those messages. Bletchley Park is planning on refurbishing the huts for visitors now that it has secured millions from the lottery.

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Hut 8, naval Enigma deciphering. Headed by maths and computer legend Alan Turing and later by British chess champion Hugh Alexander.

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