Neighbours give Bletchley a cash lifeline

Site of Allied wartime code-breaking operations receives £600,000 boost

Bletchley Park, site of the code-breaking efforts of Allied Forces in the Second World War, has been granted a funding lifeline after residents in Milton Keynes answered a challenge from English Heritage.

The Buckinghamshire mansion, which some historians credit as being the birthplace of the modern computer, needed extra cash for the "essential backlog of maintenance and urgent repairs".

In November last year English Heritage awarded the centre £300,000 for repairs to its roof and demanded a similar expression of commitment from other organisations.

Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, said: "When we announced our initial £300,000 grant last year for urgent roof repairs to the Grade II-listed mansion, I laid down the gauntlet by pledging another £100,000 each year over three years if matching funding could be found.

"Bletchley Park is of enormous historical importance and played a vital role in the Allies winning the Second World War. A large part of the activity that secured the freedom that Europe now enjoys took place here, and this is why English Heritage is so keen to help."

The failure of appeals last year to both the National Lottery and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation prompted Milton Keynes Council to conduct a public consultation with local residents. The council was inundated with pledges of support, with 73 per cent backing a contribution to the preservation of the site – which otherwise may have been bulldozed and replaced with a shopping centre or housing estate.

The £600,000 boost will be used to renovate the mansion, now converted into a military museum alongside the National Museum of Computing, and preserve for antiquity the rooms and equipment used during the war. Fundraisers are still looking for several million pounds for further restoration, but greeted news of the council's lifeline with enthusiasm.

"The impact of Bletchley Park on the Second World War was absolutely enormous," said Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park Trust. "There is no other site in the world where the impact on the war was greater than here. Historians say that Bletchley Park shortened the war by at least two years and historians are notoriously cautious about what they say."

The mansion was home to many of Britain's finest minds, as well as a machine named Colossus Mark II, reputed to be the world's first computer.

At the height of the war, code-breakers interrupted the encrypted, personal messages of Adolf Hitler. One message in particular, in which the Führer revealed that he considered the D-day invasion simply a cover to conceal a bigger invasion elsewhere, proved decisive in securing Allied victory. America's wartime President, Franklin Roosevelt, posted several of the best minds in the US to Bletchley, where UK agents worked on German ciphers while Americans concentrated on those from Japan.

Bletchley Park's central place in computing history prompted the electronics firm IBM and the encryption firm PGP to donate £57,000 to the site last year.



To make a donation to Bletchley Park, visit www.savingbletchleypark.org

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • 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: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before