"Crossed Wires at Bletchley Park"
The Bletchley Park Trust is currently in the middle of a major, and very exciting, £8 million Heritage Lottery Funded Restoration project to bring the many historic buildings on the site back to a state of good repair and create an inspiring experience for its ever-increasing numbers of visitors.
Iain Standen, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, said, “The Bletchley Park site and its buildings are historically highly significant because of their wartime functions. The Bletchley Park Trust has a responsibility to the nation to tell the stories of this Codebreaking work and its extraordinary impact in order to do justice to the remarkable people who worked here during WW2. The Trust has an exciting vision for the future which is being brought into being by the current £8 million restoration project and on which we have consulted extensively both internally and externally. We are greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic support of the overwhelming majority of our stakeholders. We continue to work hard to secure the support of everyone involved but understand that some people will not be willing to make the changes.”
Peter Wescombe, volunteer and founding member of the Bletchley Park Trust, says, “In early 1991, Peter Jarvis and I walked despondently out of a Council meeting, where, despite our pleading, it had been decided that Bletchley Park should be demolished to make way for 300+ houses, a petrol station and a small supermarket. In May my wife, Rowena and I met with Peter and his wife, Sue, at his house (we had invited ourselves to tea), to put forward an idea. We would ask BT, who owned the Park, if we could hold a "farewell reunion" on the site for the wartime code breaking staff simply to say "Thank you" for their magnificent achievements. They agreed. But we were not being exactly honest. The idea was to invite as many media reporters as we could to hear at first hand and then broadcast to the nation this almost unbelievable story. It worked! From then on it was simply uphill all the way.
I now often just stand and look, sometimes in disbelief, at the the old, sad wartime huts gleaming in their coats of fresh paint, the grounds being restored to their wartime layout; B Block standing high and proud; groups of visitors and schoolchildren listening intently to guides telling the BP story; and everywhere; staff and volunteers hurrying about their business, and I think to myself , " Wescombe, we actually made it".
Denis Falvey, Bletchley Park Volunteer Tour Guide, said, “Bletchley Park is the perfect place to be part of a volunteer team. Since winning Heritage Lottery funding, this world wide famous site has undergone a complex transformation from being an enthusiastic volunteer-led organisation to a trust-led business. Visitor numbers have increased dramatically in recent months and, so that the visitor experience is not impaired by this, changes have had to be made to the ways in which they are shown round by volunteers. Similarly the current building restoration project, which will ensure the site's preservation for future generations, means that things now have to be done differently and will change again when the work is finished.”
“There are many rewarding aspects to being a volunteer at the Park. As well as meeting general visitors, there are opportunities to be involved with the Archive, gardening, taking round school parties and being part of the bombe team, to name but a few.
“I have just retired from a Top 100 company and I can see clearly that the operational footprint which Bletchley Park is creating will ensure the preservation of the Park for the nation and make it a great place to volunteer. Although other organisations require volunteers, they do not offer the opportunities that BP does.”
“Volunteering is a choice, not a chore, and BP is a great place.”