Deep in the English countryside lies Bletchley Park, a mock-Tudor and mock-Gothic estate where nearly 9,000 people worked around the clock in drab prefab buildings to decipher German codes during World War II. The many cryptographers, mathematicians, and linguists working on code-breaking here helped the Allies plan the D-Day invasion of Normandy, infiltrated communications about tactics on the Russian front, and garnered intelligence that helped foil U-boat attacks. This year (just in time for the release of "The Imitation Game" movie where Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing!) the mansion wrapped up an £8M renovation, and the code-breaking huts were restored to how they looked in the late 1930s and early '40s.
It's not a particularly distinguished mansion, as far as English mansions go, and it was all set to be demolished in 1991 to make way for a housing development, when its historic significance and ties to master code-breaker Alan Turing came to light (thanks to Britain's Official Secrets Act, all those records were sealed before). Bletchley Park became a museum in 1993, and debuted a number of new exhibitions this year, including sound and video installations in the former code-breaking huts.
"Displays of German coding machines show just how daunting a task the code breakers faced: Those machines contained rotating discs and a plug board that, on the German Navy's Enigma, for example, allowed for about a billion million million possibilities — and settings were changed every day," the New York Times writes.
More photos, below:
· Bletchley Park [official site]
· Turing's Spirit Hovers at a Restored Estate: Where the Real 'Imitation Game' Happened [NY Times]
· All History Lessons posts [Curbed National]