Wither Bletchley Park

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/15/25015-004-412E02FC.jpgI find it incredible that Bletchley Park, the birthplace of modern computing, the place that won the Battle of the Atlantic without which the Allies may not have won World War II is finding the going tough to survive and thrive as a museum. I guess it’s unthinkable that it won’t muddle through, (it’s just picked up a 330,00 pound grant) but Jeez – what do you have to do? Saving the free world, being the fulcrum, the hinge, of the history of the twentieth century. That’s apparently not enough.

I often think about Bletchley Park, where the hour cameth as did the man – Alan Turing. It was the intellectual epicentre of that ‘white glow’ running through the isle from end to end as Churchill put it. Imagine going to work there every day there during the war. I knew a man who did – who was chosen to do so as a result of his response to a Times ad which asked for people who were good at doing the Daily Telegraph crossword. But he died before I had the sense to ask him about his experiences.

When the war ended, they dragged the computers (there were ten of these by then apparently) out onto the grass and smashed it to pieces.

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15 years ago

Can I point out that Bletchley Park was not the birthplace of modern computing. Sure, the British can claim to have been there first but that claim is made vacuous by their long period of secrecy. The real birthplace of modern computing was the USA where ideas were allowed to flourish. The suicide of Alan Turing doesn’t give the Brits much to be proud about either.

As far as I’m concerned, Bletchley Park was a historical curiosity and a dead end, much like the Phaistos Disc. The only museum it deserves is a reminder of the wrong way of doing things.

John Von Neumann was the real father of modern computing.