Bletchley Park, England - January 2004

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During January 2004 while I was in England, my Brother and I took a trip to Bletchley Park. If you don't recognise the name, you're not alone. Until quite recently - well the last twenty years anyway - Bletchley Park was a top secret establishment. During World War Two, the Park was the home of top British Code breakers and their role was, amongst others, to break German U-Boat ciphers - the most famous of which was the Enigma cipher.

Now the park is open to the public, and you can tour the grounds, see a reconstruction of the Colossus computer, see original Enigma machines, and more. It's worth noting that the park does not receive any government funding, which is a shame, and they rely solely on grants, and public donations. You can visit the Bletchley Park website by clicking Here.

Here are some photos from the trip. The images here are 640*480, but you can click on many of them for a much larger 1152*864 version. The page may take a couple of minutes to load.


Bletchley House

This is Bletchley House, which is centered amongst the grounds of the park. None of the code breaking actually took place in the house, but in huts and other outlying buildings. It's a mix of architectural styles, and is slightly odd to say the least. During the War, Bletchley Park was known only as Station X.
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Bletchley Park

This is a view of one of the larger (and more modern) buildings in the park. It was very overcast, windy, chilly, and had only just stopped raining - very typical English weather!
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An Enigma code machine

This is an original Enigma machine on display at the Park.
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Reconstruction Bombe

This is a reconstruction of the Bombe machine which was used in the film Enigma. You can read a full description on what the Bombe machine was used for, by clicking Here.


Bletchley Park Code-Breaking Hut

This is Hut 3, which housed many of the actual code-breaking teams during World War II. Unfortunately, it's not ageing well, the roof leaks, and you cannot go inside.


More Bletchley Park Code-Breaking Huts

These are more buildings which were used for administrative purposes, and although they are nothing much to look at, do give you some idea as to what Bletchley Park was like during the war times.


A recreation of a German Radio Facility

This is one of several photos I took of a very cool exhibit. This is an exact recreation of how a German Radio communications outpost might have looked during the War. It is recreated in excrutiating detail, with utmost car and attention. It was tricky to get good photos, as it was dark, and the room was behind glass. Not to mention the fact that we were being hurried along by our guide.
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A recreation of a German Radio Facility

A view of the main room with exact recreations of German radio receivers, and other electrical equipment.
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A recreation of a German Radio Facility

Another view showing the level of detail they achieved in creating this room. (The only exception being the exit door which is in plain view).
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A recreation of a German Radio Facility

A final view of the room with focus on a German telephone switch board, and other equipment. Opposite this exhibit was a display of German handguns, and other small arms that was used during the war.
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Wartime poster

One of the posters that is on display within Bletchley house. This is an original poster from the War.


Bletchley Park at Night

This is a night shot of one of the code-breaking huts within the park. You can just imagine what it would have felt like to be here during the war.


Scale model of a German Uboat

This is a night shot of a scale model U-Boat submarine.
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A German Naval Enigma Machine

This is a German Naval Enigma machine. It's an original, and if you click on the picture for a larger version, you can read the description of it.
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German Cipher Decoders

More recovered decoders from the World War II.


Radio Room

This room contained many of the radios that were used during the war to listen in on, and spy on German radio communications. During the war, it was usually women who would work here for many hours intercepting enemy transmissions.


Radio Communications

A variety of original radio transmission and reception equipment used to intercept enemy communications.


Real Bombe Machine

This is a real Bombe machine, which was being rebuilt by the museum to be put on display. Bombe was used to speed up the decyphering of Enigma machine settings.


Inside the Bombe Machine

A view inside the Bombe machine. This was before the days of printed circuit boards. Click Here for a larger, and more detailed view.


More Wartime posters

More World War II posters. I particularly like the "The Downfall of the Dictater is Assured" one.


The Lorenz Cipher Machine

This is the Lorenz Cipher Machine. It was the most advanced encyption machine the Germans made, and was used by Hitler to communicate with the Generals of his army. It was cracked by the Colossus computer (see below). For a description of the Lorenz Cipher, click Here.


Colossus Rebuild

This is part of the re-build of an original Colossus computer, which was instrumental in cracking the German Lorenz Cipher machine. Colossus was one of the most significant forerunners of computer technology because it was programmable and electronic. It could read 5,000 characters per second, and could carry out 100 Boolean calculations at any one time. It was also a valve (vacuum tubes) based machine.
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Colossus Rebuild

Colossus contained over 1,500 valves (vacuum tubes), and was never switched off until the end of the war. Colossus was so secret that it's existence was unknown until the seventies. By the end of the Second World War, a total of ten Colossus machines were in use. They could break the Lorenz cipher machine code in hours, which was vital for the D-Day preperations in 1944.
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Colossus Rebuild

The Colossus machine was so successful that by the end of the war, millions of German coded transmissions had been broken. Colossus was one of the first machines to prove the concept of electronic switching. It was two years ahead of the American ENIAC machine.
You can read more on Colossus on the BBC News website, by clicking Here.

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The Bletchley Park Post Office

Finally, this is the Bletchley Park Post-Office, where you can buy all many of items, and send home your postcards. They are also on the web, and you can visit them at http://www.bletchleycovers.com.






Bletchley Park, England. Visited on Thurday 8th January 2004.

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