Bletchley Park, the top secret code breaking hub that played a pivotal role in the outcome of World War Two, has finally been awarded development funding of some £460,500 ($735,500) from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The money will literally save the place the saved the lives of countless people by shortening World War two by at least two years. With the money, the Bletchley Park Trust will be able to start plans for transforming Bletchley Park itself into a world class heritage and educational centre. The Trust now has a further two years in which to finalise the plans before submitting them to the HLF in order to raise a further £4.1 million ($6.5 million) of the total £10 million ($15.9 million) needed for the project.
One very vocal supporter of Bletchley Park, the renowned actor, author and Twitterer Stephen Fry could hardly contain his joy: "the news that Bletchley Park has the initial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is simply wonderful" Fry enthused, adding "and yet, what should the Heritage Lottery Fund do if not exactly this? As each year passes it is becoming clearer and clearer just how vital a role in winning the war Bletchley played".
It has been a good month for code breaker fans. Just a couple of weeks ago the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, apologised for the prosecution and persecution of Alan Turing which ended up killing the man who led the technological fight against Hitler and the Nazis. "The Prime Minister's apology on behalf of the nation to Alan Turing last month was the first step" Fry explains with "the government announcement in July of Commemorative Badges for Bletchley Park veterans" the second, and now the funding announcement completes a trio of good fortune.
Since 1994, Bletchley Park has been open to the public in the guise of a museum and houses the National Museum of Computing which, also this month, announced it was on a mission to restore the world's oldest original working computer. Bletchley Park Trust wants to transform the current museum into a world-class heritage and educational site that can remind us all of the profound significance of the impact its work had on the outcome of war and as a permanent tribute to its unsung intellectual warriors.
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of Heritage Lottery Fund, said "Bletchley Park is an extraordinary part of the UK's heritage. The Heritage Lottery Fund's initial support for the Trust's restoration plans demonstrates our belief that Bletchley's story should be much more widely known and appreciated. We also recognise the importance of preserving the site as a tribute to the men and women who worked there with quiet and tireless dedication during World War Two. Without their dedication, our nation's history might have been a very different one."