back to article IBM, PGP fill Bletchley Park's rattling tin

The campaign to save Bletchley Park from decay and disrepair is moving stateside. On Tuesday, a fundraising group organized by IBM and the cryptography firm PGP plan to launch a US campaign to raise awareness of the historical landmark and raise donations for its preservation. Bletchley Park was home to UK code-breaking …


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  1. Seán


    The place should be a world heritage site and instead crappy primitive mansions are being propped up at taxpayers expense so a bunch of chinless wonders can swan around in them pretending to still have the money great-grandad got from working the fuxzzywuzzys to death or selling opium to the chinks.

  2. stuart Thompson

    Lol @ Sean

    That is all

  3. charles blackburn
    Black Helicopters

    they dont like it up um

    dont panic... dont panic.... the yanks are here to sav us once again....

    at least this time they're doing some good tho.... heck... imho if it saves bletchley then great, but only as long as it stays an english institution and not one that's run by the yanks.

    and I agree with sean.... it HAS TO BE a heritage site...get some of them coffers out of 2 jags and the rest of th cronies down south in the big posh places.

    just my tuppence worth

    black helicopter? cus bletchley was the start of the BH brigade :)

  4. Philip
    Thumb Up

    Well done PGP, IBM

    I visited Bletchley Park a couple of months ago and although they're doing sterling work with Colossus the place is obviously in desperate need of a bit of money spending on it. Congratulations to these companies for helping out. Perhaps they could help spread the word to The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA? I visited it yesterday and they're still peddling the ENIAC as the world's first programmable electronic computer.

    Bletchley Park really should be a national museum and receive government support though. It's an incredibly important part of British and the world's history and shouldn't have to be begging.

  5. yeah, right.

    Good news

    It's good news that the museum has finally attracted some funding. It's a shame that the Brits can't do it themselves, and must depend on handouts from their masters.

  6. Neoc

    Re: Disgraceful

    More disgraceful: the British site is being saved by US companies.

  7. Steve Davies Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Oh Dear

    They'll have to drop the bit about the 'home of the worlds first programmable computer'.

    All my friends in the USA totally believe that the USofA was the home of that. Even an exhibit I saw at the Smithsonian some years ago repeated that fact.

    Otherwise, I totally support this venture and after visiting it some time ago I gave a donation.

    Remember if you want to do this in the UK, to use 'Gift Aid'. This way el Gordo adds a considerable sum to the amount especially if you are a higher rate tax payer.

  8. Alex Walsh

    Typical of new Labour really

    I'm married to a museum collections manager and this sort of thing is endemic in the museum and heritage arena unfortunately. New Labour seem unwilling to both fund and support anything to do with our history or culture in case it offends some vocal minority group or another. Even nationals aren't immune- witness the rolling gallery closures at the British Museum caused by underfunding.

    We can find a few million quid a week of tax payers money to police football matches but woe betide anything the government decides is pandering to the middle classes.

  9. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge
    Gates Halo

    Even more disgraceful

    ...and how many billions of our lottery money is being wasted trying to see who can jump a bit higher or run or swim a bit faster than someone else? It's disgusting. Cancel the Olympics and invest in our REAL heritage now!

    (Bill - who could be a saint if he donated a tiny fraction of his dosh to Bletchley Park)

  10. Steve


    when our allies have to help us preserve our own history. I doubt if most of NuLabour have even heard of Bletchley Park, since it probably hasn't featured in a celebrity TV show.

    We can but hope that Phyllis Starkey's 4000 majority evaporates in the next election.

  11. Kevin Pollock

    Yes, very sad...

    ...that we have to rely on the Americans for help.

    WW2 was probably the last major conflict that was fought for truly noble reasons. It was a struggle against two fundamentally and indisputably evil empires - Nazi Germany and Japan. Britain managed to hold out alone for a while, but let's not kid ourselves - to actually beat Germany and Japan we needed the Yanks then too.

    Given that there were times during the war when the whole thing could have literally swung the opposite way it's clear that Station X played a decisive part.

    It is a national disgrace that we are allowing the site to fall into disrepair.

    But on the other hand it's one of several national disgraces we're facing right now - rationing of drugs on the NHS, third world public transport, inadequate electrical generation, crumbling social structure. But surely the money could be found by simply capping the expenses of a few MPs.

    Fuck me this is depressing, I'm off to the pub!

  12. Chris Long
    Thumb Up

    Agreed, disgraceful

    I went to Bletchley Park for the first time about a month ago and was very impressed. The bulk of the site tells the story of code-making and code-breaking very well, with lots of interesting hardware on display - the expected Enigma and Lorentz machines but also their successors from around the world going up the 70s or so, the rebuilt Bombe, etc.

    The National Museum of Computing seems fairly separate, despite sharing the same site. It was closed when I was there, unfortunately. It's just a few single-story pre-fab buildings that reminded me a little too much of my 1970s junior school. On the one hand it's heartwarming to know that there a people dedicating themselves to keeping the place going with virtually no money; on the other hand, it's disgraceful that the government hasn't already bunged them a million or two to do it properly.

    Anyone that reads The Register would enjoy it and should immediately take this afternoon off and go there. Failing that, just send them some money:

  13. Anonymous Coward

    It reminds me of Churchill...

    "Never have so many owed so much to so few".

    Now while he was talking about the RAF at the time, it also applies here. Bletchley played such a huge part in the war, but yet we've left it to rack and ruin.

    A few billion for the Olympics? Sure. Couple of million to save a site that was integral to us all not speaking German right now? No chance.

    I'm not often thankful to the Americans, but in this case I am. We should be ashamed.

  14. Ian Moffatt
    Paris Hilton


    What he said.

    The Government should put money here rather than Northern Sodding Rock


    Paris - 'cos she knows a Colossus or two ;-)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Thanks Yanks ... sad day .. etc etc

  16. dervheid

    What you have to remember...

    is that Bletchley Park is associated with <whisper> The War (don't mention the war) </whisper>.

    The PC Brigade would rather have anything associated with <whisper> The War </whisper> cleansed from the (PC approved) History Books (along with the blanket bombing of cities like Dresden, and all the other 'nasty' things that happened). Their delicate little sensibilities can't handle the fact that all these 'nasty' little things happened, on both sides, and they forget the price that was paid so that they could enjoy the 'freedoms' we currently do (until the NuLabourian Utopia is fully implimented, another reason Bletchley gets no Gov't support, as it represents the struggle for these freedoms we now take for granted and are allowing to be eroded at an ever increasing rate).





  17. Hollerith

    Given that the world runs on computers

    You'd think the world might be interested in preserving one of the places where it all started. Oh, well. The Yanks bail us out yet again.

  18. Mark
    Thumb Up

    World Heritage Site!

    Indeed Bletchley Park should be made a World Heritage site forthwith. The Government should give seed money to allow the museum to run without needing to charge admission and the national lottery should give money for the repair and restoration work that is needed!

  19. Jay
    IT Angle

    "...the internet was really only invented in 1999..."

    Or so says Andrew Hart, head of privacy and security services for IBM in the UK and Ireland in the BBC reporting of this story:

    Even if he was making the schoolboy error of confusing The Internet with World Wide Web, then it wouldn't explain me (who was rather late to discover such things) using Netscape in 1994. I recall one of my fellow undergrads using something called Mosaic in 1992.

    IT? As this IBM bloke knows nothing about it! TWAT!

  20. Jay
    Thumb Up

    Update: "the internet was really only invented in 1989"

    Just as I was putting something together to hassle the BBC with they appear to have changed 1999 to1989 which makes a lot more sense. Though obviously this is turning into something along the lines of The Internet == World Wide Web which is still blatantly incorrect.

    However the timestamp of the story still says it was done at 0128 this morning, so someone has been tinkering (or sorting out a typo).

    Thumbs up as they sorted it out, and made the bloke sound like he vaguely knows what a computer is rather than a gibbering idiot.

  21. Jon G

    Why ?

    So why hasn't the National Lottery fund chipped in with some money ? Presumably they'd rather spend it on some politically correct "box ticking" exercise than actually daring to do something that preserved BRITISH heritage

  22. Tim Spence

    Bailing out

    I suppose it's only right that as they "bailed" us out of dubbleya-dubbleya-two, that they bail us out of this fine mess too.


  23. Anonymous Coward

    IBM is a UK company too

    Don't get too hung up on the fact that IBM is a US company. There's lots of folks working for IBM in the UK so pretend the money came from us rather than from US if you like.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Donate Bletchly to the National Trust...

    Then it will definatly to be saved and it will get new curtains and sofa's too...

  25. Gareth Saunders

    A truly national disgrace!

    The fact that this site is pivotal for two distinct major reasons, that is its role in WW2 AND the development of the electronic computer, and we have let it go to rack and ruin... shame on us.

    Fair play to the American firms doing this, at least they see the significance (maybe an apology for all the Hollywood rewrites of the past: that means you, U-571).

    We (or at least the Establishment) even persecuted Alan Turing, the father of Collusus, a true british Hero; his sexual persuation not ideal, he was driven to suicide. Quite a bad end for someone who did so much for the nation, and humanity itself

    We should be making up for this, by restoring Bletchley and putting Turing and Trafalgers' Fourth Plinth!

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Sign up then - it *might* make them listen:

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Sad, sad day

    I'm guessing there are no old Hollerith punch-card machines in the computing museum at Bletchley Park. ;)

  28. Alexander Giochalas

    What an unpleasant surprise...

    I thought these things only happened down here in Greece, where everything has been falling apart for years now and our PM pretends to be Nero (with a Sony PlayStation[1] replacing the lyra) and the rest of the government and the Opposition are in a stupor of mythical proportions.


    [1] he is infamous around here for this little hobby of his, playing his PS for hours every day, instead of doing this rather boring little thing he was voted for: running -- and not ruining -- the state...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If <whisper> the war </whisper>...

    is so non-PC and therefore fund-free, why not get the IWM involved in the management and preservation of Bletchley?

    Apart, of course, from the fact they're probably as short of funds as every bugger else in the heritage sector...

  30. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @ Jon G @ Steve

    BP did apply for a National Lottery grant a few years back but was turned down. They're making another application at the moment.

    It's a real contrast to the case of the two Titians that have attracted publicity of late. Their owner wants to sell them and is willing to part with them and allow the pair to become part of the National collection for the trivial sum of £100 million, otherwise they'll go on the open market where they might go for £500 million.

    Naturally the great and the good are lobbying furiously for the government, Lottery and uncle Tom Cobbly and All to stump up the money for a pair of paintings that have nothing to do with Britain apart from they ended up here after Johnny Frog got all choppity-chop with his betters.

    As for Steve's comment about the luminous Phyllis Starkey MP's majority vanishing - I hope so, I hope so.

  31. Barn


    How can they have been turned down for lottery funding? My local Odeon cinema (a profit-making business) has a plaque 'proudly' proclaiming it has been lottery funded. If a bloody cinema can get it then why not a national treasure?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Dear IBM

    Thank you.

  33. Brian Miller

    Typical for Bletchley Park

    When BP was in full swing, it wasn't in a great state of repair, then, either. One lady remembered that the little hut she was sharing with other ladies had grass growing up through the planks.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Err...Just Being Picky But

    Not wanting to belittle the work of anyone at Bletchley during the war but have to be a total pedant and point out a couple of things:

    1. Colossus wasn't the first programmable computer - Konrad Zuse's machines hold that distinction for electronic computing (it's someone insane like Wilhelm Schikard in the 17th century for non-electronic computing)

    2. Alan Turing wasn't the father of Colossus. Turing, although developing the Polish Bomba into the more powerful bombe decoder (and a genius in his own right) had very little involvment with Colossus - the real brains behind it being Max Newman and Tommy Flowers

    3. ENIAC wasn't even the first US computer - the Anastanoff Berry Computer (ABC) beat it by several years

    That said, BP is fantastic (went a couple of years ago) and it's just a total disgrace that NuLabour don't seem the slightest bit interested in preserving it. All too happy to pour billions into a strip of red tarmac and a hotel for some atheletes though.

    I hate to say it but...thank God for IBM

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Read a history book

    I am all for companies donating money to this nations fine historical establishments but could someone please give Dunkleburger, and possibly the editor, a copy of a history book. Enigma was never cracked at Bletchley, it was cracked by the Sausage Roles, Poles for you northerns.

  36. Terry Bernstein

    Old Establishment/New labour

    I've always felt that New Labour's heart was really pining to join the world of leather armchairs, cricket, shooting defenseless mammals and Always Coming Second in things. So all that nasty computer stuff, with its geeky technology doesn't really attract their attention.

    Still, come Wednesday we'll none of us exist............

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares

    let the place go - the whole thing about technology is the latest and greatest, this harking back to the valve is just sad.

    I say they just model the place it in 3D, release it to the world, and let that be that.

    It is pathetic, those machines can be replicated on a device the size of thumbnail now, and frankly it wasn't that impressive at the time, ohhh look I have found a pattern. People were a lot simpler back then, can you imagine that motley crew up against the best of the best today, it would be a whitewash.

    Take Bletchley park and turn it into a datacenter, that could work. But, don't preserve the crusty crumudgeon of a place that it was.

    Oh and didn't IBM equip the Germans.

  38. NB

    @who cares

    you sir, are a philistine. Please do us a favour and kill yourself. By your logic we should pull down Stone Henge and use the rocks for masonry, demolish the Colosseum of Rome and build a stadium, destroy our castles and other historical artefacts and probably just do away with archaeology, the concept of heritage and history altogether.

    Fuck you.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Death Threats

    Yes you are quite right, I would have it all pulled down, not sure a stadium would be built, perhaps some housing, but you know the colosseum is Italian perhaps they should decide what to do with it.

    Oh your castles, little symbols of oppression. Yes, have those taken down, and you made to watch as you blubbed your little eyes out, whilst I gave you a super wedgee, and reminded you of the times you got bullied as a child, see there is a pont to history :)

  40. NB

    @Oh Death Threats

    I see that you are a troll, I shouldn't feed you but oh well, here goes.

    We should preserve our history because to forget it is to never learn from it and as we all know; "Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them". Castles may be symbols of oppression but then so are the cameras on every corner of every street. So are the draconian anti-terror laws that our beloved Nulab Govt. brought in with knee-jerk speed to appease the blood baying of the tabloids and the so-called moral majority, the 'think of the children' crowd.

    We need our history and the lessons it teaches. To forget it in the apparent name of progress is to deny that mistakes were ever made or that great achievements were indeed achieved. It is integral to our national identity and a constant reminder of all the great, noble and beautiful things we can do and aspire to improve, it is also a reminder of the great evil that lies in the heart of man and why we can never allow ourselves to forget such atrocities.

    By the way, It's spelt wedgie :)

  41. NB

    @A/C : P.S

    'point' has an 'i' in it and you also mixed past and present tense rather badly (in the same sentence as well, oh dear) which is grammatical heresy. Please re-take GCSE English language before you attempt to troll again.

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