Floorless If Not Yet Flawless
Painstaking work is being carried out at Bletchley Park to keep the wooden Huts 3 & 6 true to their wartime origins. The £8 million, Heritage Lottery Funded project for the restoration of historic Bletchley Park got underway just in time to save the buildings from rotting, crumbling and being lost forever. Speaking in Hut 6, Janie Price, Conservation Architect and partner at Kennedy O’Callaghan Architects, says “These huts were only put up as temporary structures so they probably would have expected them to be taken down after the war and it is extraordinary that they have lasted as well as they have.”
Hut 6 has suffered far greater weather damage on one side of its central corridor than the other. Janie explains “The whole of the west side of the building is completely decayed, the reason being the ground level externally has been raised up so when the tarmac was put down and the road was put down it was too high.” Rain water pipes and guttering have not worked for years, allowing water to seep into and rot the walls as well.
Floorboards from the historic house Fawley Court in Henley on Thames, which was used as a military intelligence school during World War Two, are being donated to the Bletchley Park Trust. This provides the Trust with like-for-like, genuine WW2 replacement boards for those which have rotted beyond repair. Fawley Court has also given the Bletchley Park Trust around fifty square metres of shiplap boarding which will cover the exterior of the huts.
Scaffolding currently covers both wooden Huts, 3 & 6, to allow roof repairs to be carried out. Meanwhile, in Block C, work continues to bring it to life as a Visitor Centre, now that it has been returned to its original, World War Two, open-plan layout. Block C and the Huts will be opened to the public in June 2014 to considerably enhance the visitor experience at Bletchley Park.