Progress in Perspective

The very brief BBC broadcast on the 6 O’Clock News on the 24th January created an impression of disharmony within Bletchley Park.

This is not an accurate impression as the major restoration and redevelopment of Bletchley Park now taking place has been extensively consulted on in the past three years and is very much a team effort. The piece drew attention to three very different and separate issues;

  • The alleged treatment of volunteer guides 
  • Private Collections being asked to leave the site 
  • The access arrangements to The National Museum of Computing

This briefing explains the current policy of the Bletchley Park Trust on each of these important issues.

The Bletchley Park Trust greatly values the contribution of its volunteers, and indeed is currently investing in their training, and contrary to the impression created by the BBC piece, volunteers continue to have a key role at Bletchley Park. In order to manage increasing numbers of visitors, and to make it more accessible and family friendly, the guided tour was reduced from 90 minutes plus to an hour. This revised tour was developed and implemented by a working group of staff and volunteers, and the great majority of our volunteers have embraced and supported the revised tours for nearly a year. Sadly, there was one exception where a tour guide who was unwilling to conduct tours in the agreed format has been asked to stand down from this role. We greatly regret the rare instances when someone feels unable to continue contributing to the invaluable service which the volunteer community provides to us and our visitors.  The Volunteer in question remains working in a voluntary capacity for the Trust's Education Department.

Some of the non-core private collections which have in recent years operated from the Bletchley Park site have been asked to relocate, as the parts of the site they occupy are to be restored to their wartime appearance and made available to help tell the remarkable story of WW2 Codebreaking. These buildings of high historic value, are artefacts in their own right and deserve to be interpreted accordingly, to reflect their importance and the profound impact of the work that took place inside them.

The National Museum of Computing was formed in 2006 and is run by a separate charitable trust. It willingly entered into a lease agreement with the Bletchley Park Trust to rent Block H on the Bletchley Park site to house its museum. This museum remains on-site and accessible, by way of a separate admission charge, to anyone visiting Bletchley Park. It is the Bletchley Park Trust's policy to have a solid working relationship with The National Museum of Computing and we intend that its exhibition should be enjoyed by visitors to Bletchley Park

The short BBC piece did not explain the purpose or nature of the changes at Bletchley Park. The site is in the middle of a major, and much needed, £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. This will create a world class museum and heritage site which is a fitting memorial to the heroic codebreakers of Bletchley Park making the site much more sustainable and accessible to growing numbers of visitors. Image: Newly-restored Block C is soon to be the new Visitor Centre.

Restoring Block C