Statement of Facts
The National Museum of Computing
The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) is an independent charity that occupies Block H in Bletchley Park as a tenant of the Bletchley Park Trust (BPT). Since 2007 it has voluntarily been in a commercial arrangement with the Bletchley Park Trust to rent Block H. The obligations under its lease are to pay rent of £75,000 per annum, a recharge of utilities costs (incurred by the Bletchley Park Trust to provide light, heat and water to Block H) of around £25,000 net per annum and a nominal service charge of £4,000 net per annum.
Almost a year ago, the guided tour on offer to all visitors to the Bletchley Park Trust Museum was reduced from 90 minutes plus to one hour. The tour was revised by the volunteer tour guides themselves, and the tour no longer goes into any building on the site. This was necessary to allow the site to accommodate ever increasing numbers of visitors, and to broaden the appeal of the guided tour to a wider audience, including families.
It should be made absolutely clear that The National Museum of Computing remains available to any visitor to Bletchley Park who wishes to visit it. The story of breaking the German’ Fish’ Ciphers, which includes the story of the birth of Colossus, is one that is told in the Bletchley Park Museum, and visitors are encouraged to visit The National Museum of Computing to see the replica Colossus and Tunny machines.
In 2012, in response to adverse visitor feedback, regarding the number of different charges levied within Bletchley Park, the Bletchley Park Trust proposed to The National Museum of Computing a single ticketing solution whereby the Bletchley Park Trust would charge an admission fee, which would be uplifted to include the Colossus gallery charge (£2 for adults and £1 for concessions and groups). This was an unconditional offer. This uplift would have been paid directly to The National Museum of Computing for every visitor (without any administration or handling charges) so that The National Museum of Computing would have been able to glean a substantial income from visitors to the Bletchley Park Trust Museum.
This offer resulted in lengthy negotiations where BPT was presented with unacceptable conditions by TNMOC that BPT rejected. Both sides therefore agreed to operate independently. Operating independently means that The National Museum of Computing continues to occupy Block H and develop its own Museum. It has its own opening hours, continues to charge its own entry fees and conduct its own marketing activities.
Fences and Gates
The Bletchley Park Trust is custodian of the whole historic site of Bletchley Park. This includes a number of wartime buildings, situated in parkland, that are open to the general public, one of which houses The National Museum of Computing. Other buildings on-site are either leased out for commercial use or are derelict and still to be developed. All of these buildings, along with the parkland within which they sit, form part of Bletchley Park’s protected heritage.
To ensure that every visitor to the Bletchley Park heritage attraction enters through the newly-restored Block C Visitor Centre to enjoy the introductory exhibition before exploring the rest of the site, the Bletchley Park Trust will be erecting a fence and gates to control visitor flow. This will allow commercial tenants to enter and exit the site without being impeded by the visiting public while also providing greater security for the commercial areas.
These new arrangements will also help to ensure the security and protection of the newly-restored Codebreaking Huts, interpretive sound-scape equipment and Multimedia Guides enjoyed free-of-charge by all visitors. Part of the restoration plan for Bletchley Park has always been to return the site to its wartime appearance, free of modern car parks and vehicles.
Visitors to Bletchley Park will remain able to visit The National Museum of Computing, subject to a separate fee and opening hours, as is the current arrangement.
As funds become available to allow the Bletchley Park Trust to restore and develop other parts of the site, these operational arrangements may change accordingly.
Volunteer tour guide Tony Carroll has not been sacked. He continues to be a valued volunteer for the Bletchley Park Trust. He was asked to stop giving public tours as he been unwilling to deliver the shorter revised tour He continues to work voluntarily for the Trust in the Education department, providing tours for school groups.
The Trust is enormously grateful to its army of volunteers, without whom it could not offer a personal, knowledgeable service to visitors. The Trust is currently investing in high quality training to further improve visitors’ experience as the huge, much-needed, Heritage Lottery Funded £8 milion restoration project approaches completion. This project will bring 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.