Historic wartime buildings under threat of demolition

TONIGHT Milton Keynes Borough Council will decide whether to preserve some of the most historic buildings from the Second World War, part of the secret code-breaking station at Bletchley Park, where some of the nation's top brains worked to decipher enemy communications and divine the opposition's intentions. Some of its wartime activities are still shrouded in secrecy.

If the council decides not to extend the boundary of the existing conservation area, the buildings where more than 80,000 German codes a month were cracked in the build-up to D-Day in June 1944 face imminent demolition to make room for 450 houses.

The building which housed Colossus, the world's first electronic computer, developed during 1943, has already been demolished.

The site is unique, not just for the history of cryptology (code deciphering) but also for computing, radar and air traffic control.

Leading the campaign to save the site is the Bletchley Park Trust, a body supported by voluntary donations. The trust hopes to raise pounds 7m to purchase the site and its historic manor house and open it as a 'campus museum' for scholars and the general public. The trust says ample land, and planning permission, already exists for 20,500 new homes in Milton Keynes.

The land is under joint British Telecom and Government ownership. In February 1992, after protests from the trust, the council placed a conservation order on the southern part of the site, containing earlier blocks.

Tonight's decision concerns the northern part of the site, currently unprotected. It contains blocks D, F, G and H, which were crucial to the D-Day effort. Blocks D and G are bomb-proof buildings where military planners met in January 1944 to plan intelligence support for the Normandy landings.

British Telecom has made a separate application to demolish all the buildings in the southern part of the site as well. The only piece permanently preserved is the manor house itself.

At the peak of its activity Bletchley Park employed 12,000 people.

Enemy signals were intercepted all over the globe, and also at the Secret Intelligence Services station four miles away, and fed to Bletchley by teleprinter link.

For a brief period around the Normandy invasion Bletchley also sprouted aerials to intercept communications.

The site is not formally open to the public but Ted Enever, chief executive of the trust, conducts guided tours.

He said: 'We have appealed to Government to donate the Bletchley Park site to the nation so that we can preserve and commemorate the work of the code- breakers who helped shorten the war through brains rather than bullets.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor