Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park is an estate located in the town of Bletchley, in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, and is run by the Bletchley Park Trust as a heritage attraction. New attractions are becoming available regularly. Up to date details can be found on the Bletchley Park website. Now underway is an £8m, Heritage Lottery Funded restorationprogramme, which will come to fruition in time for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

During the Second World War, Bletchley Park was the site of the United Kingdom’s main decryption establishment, the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), where ciphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted, most importantly the ciphers generated by the German Enigma and Lorenz machines. The place was known as “B.P.” to the people who worked there. For the many members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (Wrens) who worked at Bletchley Park, their posting was to HMS Pembroke V.

Bletchley Park also housed a secret radio intercept station, and also a message sending station, although interception was soon moved to a location with better reception, and most of the “Bombes” were relocated elsewhere. “Station X”, “London Signals Intelligence Centre”, and “Government Communications Headquarters” were all cover names that were used during the war, and the latter (GCHQ) was adopted for the successor peacetime organisation that still bears this name.

The high-level intelligence produced at Bletchley Park, codenamed Ultra, provided crucial assistance to the Allied war effort. Sir Harry Hinsley, a Bletchley veteran and the official historian of British Intelligence during the Second World War, said that Ultra shortened the war by two to four years and that the outcome of the war would have been uncertain without it.

The site is now controlled by the Bletchley Park Trust. One of its tenants is a company called the Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre (BPSIC), which provides rental income for the Trust by providing office space and services to innovative, early stage companies. The BPSIC refurbished some of the historic structures and occupies part of the former code-breaker buildings.

The National Museum of Computing, an independent voluntary organisation, rents space from the Trust to house its collection of historic computers. The museum is run by the Codes and Ciphers Heritage Trust (an independent registered charity) and is open to the public. It receives no Government or regional funding.

Since 1967, Bletchley has been part of the town, and subsequently borough, of Milton Keynes.