Day 15: Bletchley Park

Today we got up early and headed to Bletchley Park, the site of the Allied intelligence codebreaking efforts during World War 2. It’s kind of like a computer science pilgrimage and we nerded-out.

Zeke enjoyed the bus ride there.

Once we got there, we got our season pass tickets, which means we can come back all we want for the next year! We laughed because none of us will be able to do that.

The inside of the museum was fun and reminded us about how secret their efforts were and just how crucial their work was.

We walked the beautiful grounds, which felt very familiar since we had just watched the movie, The Imitation Game, last week.

Across the pond, the mansion came into view. It was the nexus of all codebreaking activities at Bletchley Park.

We took a group photo. This will probably be used in marketing materials for years.

Inside the mansion, we got to see it mocked up like it would have been during the war. Below is a description of the UK/US special relationship that was posted in Commander Alastair Denniston’s office.

Below is Commander Denniston’s office (left) and the library where codebreakers worked (right).

  

In the ballroom, I saw this quote and thought that it summed up programming in general:

There were some hats to play with, so Erin and Micah tried on a few.

We took our guided tour, and when that was done we popped into Hut 8 to see Alan Turing’s office.

  

Below is a picture of Hut 1 where Alan Turing’s computer was located. The wall is an original blast wall built to protect the prefabricated buildings from bombings (if they were to be bombed, which they were not).

After seeing these things, it was time to leave. Inside of Hut 8, I came across an interesting little pamphlet. We all thought it was funny. We realize that pigeons were vital information carriers during the war, but the picture on the front was pretty humorous.

Zeke got a toy in the gift shop: a voice synthesizer. He played with it all day, mostly singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” his favorite song. It was more funny than it was annoying.

Alas, it was time to return to Oxford. Three hours on-site simply wasn’t enough. We took the bus to a nearby town to eat a late lunch and then finally back to Oxford, returning around 4:15, and we were done for the day.Visiting Bletchley Park was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

It had been a long day and Micah fell asleep on the way back.

Zeke, of course, was still wide awake.

When we got back home, the kids went into the back garden and jumped on Matilda’s trampoline. (Matilda is the daughter of Jacqueline, the on-site director).

It was a really good day.