"It's an honour to work on this unique project."
The restoration of World War Two codebreaking buildings, where history lives in the crumbling walls themselves, is progressing apace. Block C, where Hollerith punch-card machines carried out rapid analysis of encrypted message systems to assist the Codebreakers, was used by a number of government organisations after WW2. The building was modified for contemporary use over the decades and one of the first jobs facing those carrying out the £7.4 million, Heritage Lottery funded restoration was to knock down internal walls which had altered the layout and hidden the original character of the building.
Block C was in dire need of TLC. It was home to wet carpets, peeling paint, rusty girders and numerous pigeons, as well as trees growing in around a third of the roof. A bespoke pitched scaffold roof has been erected over the water damaged sections (Spurs 7, 8 & 9). Rob Davies, site manager with Fairhurst Ward Abbots, the specialist heritage restoration company carrying out the work, says “It’s gone back to its original design and everything’s drying out quite quickly. This has been getting wet since about 1987 but the ventilation is pretty good.”