Bletchley Park to open significant WW2 Building in 2018

Gemma Briggs  |  Published: Oct 27th 2017

Bletchley Park today announces that it will open one of its World War Two buildings to the public in Easter 2018, with a permanent exhibition telling the story of the Bombes in the actual location that housed the machines which broke Enigma.

Four years on from the last opening of renovated buildings at the Buckinghamshire museum, visitors will now be able to step foot inside Hut 11A. Here, a major new exhibition titled Hut 11A: The Bombe Breakthrough will explain in detail the challenge posed by Enigma and explore how Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman and others devised a machine to help solve it.  Using the museum’s Oral History archive and historic objects, it will also consider how this contribution to the success of Allied signals intelligence had a significant impact on the course of WW2.

Wartime objects on display will include original blueprints and components, decrypted Nazi messages and the W.R.N.S visitors’ book signed by key figures in the Bletchley Park story, including the GPO engineer Tommy Flowers. Some of the documents in the exhibition have never been seen by the public before. Huts 11 and 11A were amongst several wartime buildings that housed Bombe machines, but they are the only ones located within the Bletchley Park site.

Iain Standen, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: “For the first time our visitors will be able to learn how the Bombes helped to break the Enigma cipher in one of the buildings that housed the incredible machines designed by Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman and others. We last opened newly renovated historic buildings in 2014, with Block C and Huts 3 and 6, and so this will be a significant development for the museum. We are excited by the opportunity to tell the full story of the Bombes in such an iconic location. Our visitors will not only understand the role of engineering in this key World War Two development, but thanks to our archive of Oral History interviews, they will hear from the very people who were involved in the wartime endeavour.”

Dermot Turing, nephew of Alan Turing and Trustee of Bletchley Park, said: “In recent years the work that Alan Turing carried out during WW2 has become widely known, but there is still so much of the story left to tell. In particular, I am delighted that we now have the chance to explain the key roles played by others in breaking the Enigma cipher, and telling the whole fascinating story in a new and lively way. I have no doubt that the opportunity to learn in detail about the Bombes in the actual building where some of the machines were housed will be a powerful experience for visitors to Bletchley Park.”

Heritage Minister John Glen said: “The Bletchley Park codebreakers played a pivotal role in the outcome of the Second World War and the technology they pioneered shaped how we live today. Opening up Hut 11A to the public will inspire even more people to learn about how their incredible work changed the world." 
Hut 11A pre-exhibition installation (C) Andy Stagg for the Bletchley Park Trust
Hut 11A pre-exhibition installation (C) Andy Stagg for the Bletchley Park Trust
Bombe machine valve (c) Derek Adams for the Bletchley Park Trust
Bombe machine valve (c) Derek Adams for the Bletchley Park Trust
Bombe machine drum (c) Derek Adams for the Bletchley Park Trust
Bombe machine drum (c) Derek Adams for the Bletchley Park Trust
Bombe machine blueprint (c) Derek Adams for the Bletchley Park Trust
Bombe machine blueprint (c) Derek Adams for the Bletchley Park Trust
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