I was very excited to visit Bletchley Park having watched the amazing movie “The Imitation Game” and I was not disappointed. It was a cloudy day as I took the train from London to Bletchley and then walked the short distance to the gates that I had seen Benedict Cumberbatch walk through on the silver screen just one week previous.
Walking into the entrance hall there were 2 people ahead of me (it was a damp Wednesday morning in November) and the cashier gave me a warm welcome and encouraged me to purchase both the guide book and another one called “Demystifying the Bombe” written by Alan Turing’s nephew Dermot. I hesitated slightly before she said “he’ll sign it for you” and as I questioned this she said “he’s right behind you”. I turned around and there was Alan Turing’s nephew Dermot in Bletchley Park who gladly signed my book. As I moved into the start of the exhibit I realised that I should have gotten a photo with him so I asked him and he obliged. As it happens, his own nephew was there too coincidentally and was happy to jump into the picture too!
As I moved around the exhibition, it was plain to see that with the amount of time that I had allowed, that I would only skim the surface of everything that was there, and I hadn’t even moved to the rest of the facility. There was so much to see and even when you first walk in you get this amazing sense of history right from the outset.
Moving on the outer buildings you get to see and experience the conditions in which these code breakers lived and worked – health and safety didn’t seem to be a huge priority at the time! There was a real sense of walking back into history as I explored these buildings and huts.
I then moved on to the mansion which really was at the heart of the movie. As I explored this great building which I learned dates back to the 1870s I felt a great sense of grandeur and somewhat familiarity as many of the rooms had been used in the movie. All of these rooms were open for us to see.
As I wandered around the mansion a little more I began to think “why haven’t they done any kind of exhibition on the movie”? Well I wasn’t to be disappointed as I turned a corner and there it was. An exhibition of props from the movie and then onto the set of the bar in which Cumberbatch and fellow Irish man Allan Leech had sat.
You really could spend a whole day at Bletchley Park and immerse yourself in the amazing story of the code breakers who played no small part in World War 2. Check their website here