Punch Cards, Porridge and a Pittance

This episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Punch Cards, Porridge and a Pittance, celebrates five years since Bletchley Park’s Oral History project began in earnest.

This rich archive has grown to more than three hundred interviews and this month we begin to celebrate its fifth anniversary, by sharing the very first interview that was carried out under its auspices.

Doris Marshall, nee Phillips, lived just outside the boundaries of Bletchley Park and her family welcomed a number of billetees who worked for the Government Code and Cypher School. They suggested to her when she was coming of age that she too might work at this highly interesting, top secret place.

Throughout this year, the Bletchley Park Podcast will bring memories from more of these fascinating oral history interviews out of storage for the world to hear, watch and read. We still want to hear from anyone who worked as part of the Bletchley Park operation and has not yet been interviewed. If you know of someone, email [email protected] and mention the Oral History Project.

This month we also bring you details of the exciting new open air cinema at Bletchley Park, which will show the Oscar-winning film, The Imitation Game as well as the World War Two classic, The Great Escape, over two nights in September.

Last but not least, a heartfelt letter of thanks for the vital intelligence provided by Bletchley Park has been brought out of the shadows, 70 years after it was written. Eisenhower’s 1945 letter to Sir Stewart Menzies hung on the wall in the top secret Chief’s office at MI6 for several years, inspiring today’s Bletchley Park Trust Chairman Sir John Scarlett during his tenure. It is now on public display for the first time, at Bletchley Park, and we take you to the launch with Sir John, GCHQ Departmental Historian, Tony Comer, Bletchley Park’s Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon and the NSA’s Historian, David A Hatch.

All this is waiting for your ears in this month’s episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Punch Cards, Porridge and a Pittance.

Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now.

Image: Freeborn Machine Section Hollerith Punch Room, Block C ©Crown. Reproduced by kind permission, Director, GCHQ

Punch Cards, Porridge and a Pittance