I went to one of my favourite places to play with my new Nikon D3100, Bletchley Park – home of the code breakers. Well, cypher breakers technically. I’ve been a tour guide at BP since April last year so I’m lucky enough to have free rein of this fascinating and beautiful place. BP has secured £4.6m of lottery funding and is embarking on a huge refurbishment and building project to rescue its wartime buildings, particularly the poor huts, and expand the museum. Here are some pics of it in its current state.
Hut 3 – army and airforce Enigma translation and analysis. This hut was not in charge of deciphering any messages, its job was to work through the Enigma messages broken into by its sister hut, Hut 6. The huts always worked in pairs so in the same way, Hut 8 broke into naval Enigma while Hut 4 translated and processed those messages. Today Hut 3 is covered in asbestos and it’s not safe to go inside.
Poor Hut 6 – army and airforce Enigma deciphering. This is where these cyphers were actually broken before the messages were sent next door for the next stage. It’s in a particularly sorry state because many years ago some bright spark treated the woodwork with something which actually repels paint.
Hut 11, AKA the Bombe Room, AKA, the Hell Hole – at all times a very dark and hot place to work. Today, freezing almost all year round.
Hut 11 interior – the Bombe machine is just a prop from the film Enigma, which was donated to BP after filming (although the film was not made at BP), and is split in two just to show the front and back. But there is a working Bombe in B Block. The Bombes were designed by Alan Turing to work out the wheel settings for Enigma, enabling BP to type the enciphered messages back into a machine that could behave like an Enigma and discover the original German plain text. At the end of the war the Wrens who had the misfortune to work in this very uncomfortable place were told to smash up the machinery for security reasons.