Bletchley Park, in Milton Keynes, will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day with a special VE Day Celebration Weekend.
The former top-secret home of Britain’s World War Two Codebreakers, now a museum and heritage attraction, was one of the first organisations to learn of the formal surrender of Germany in the early hours of 7 May 1945, the day before VE Day was formally announced on 8 May 1945.
On Friday 8 May 2020, visitors will enjoy live 1940s music, dancing, delicious food and drink at a special VE Day street party, inspired by the famous celebratory scenes witnessed across Britain 75 years ago.
In the run up to the day, Bletchley Park will be sharing special content online, on social media, and in a small display on site, to help bring to life the various ways VE Day was marked by those who worked here. This includes incredible Oral History testimonies of Veterans, rare wartime photos, declassified memos and precious personal memorabilia that form part of the museum’s c. 450,000-item internationally significant collections.
Rebecca Foy, Director of Public Engagement, Bletchley Park said: “We’re looking forward to highlighting the secret celebrations at Bletchley Park to mark VE Day. We know from our Oral History interviews with Veterans that some staff were given leave to go to London to join in with celebrations there, others went to the local pubs in Bletchley, or simply went home and slept. As perhaps one of the last major anniversaries when those who remember on VE Day are still with us, we hope our event will help inspire future generations with the story of Bletchley Park, and our Veterans whose wartime service was kept secret for so long.”
Some staff at Bletchley Park were amongst the first to learn of the formal surrender of Germany, but those in the know kept this secret until British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill made his famous radio announcement at 3pm on 8 May 1945.
A recreation of the radio speech given by Churchill will be given outside the Mansion at 3pm, after which all visitors will be invited to join in with the Nation’s Toast.